Doctor arrested in QC for selling overpriced thermal scanners

By March 28, 2020 No Comments

MANILA, Philippines — A doctor was collared by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Quezon City for allegedly selling overpriced thermal scanners online in the middle of the crisis spawned by the coronavirus disease pandemic.

NBI chief Eric Distor identified the suspect as Dr. Cedric John Sarmiento De Castro, who was arrested at his residence in Barangay Mariana on Tuesday.

According to Distor, an NBI agent acted as a poseur customer and had to use an account that was a member of a restricted Facebook group called “N95 mask surgical mask supplier” to initiate communication with the suspect. The agent then received a reply from the suspect that read: “9,300 per unit.”

Both parties then agreed for a sale of 150 pieces of thermal scanners for P9,300 each, which the suspect said can be picked up in his address.

But in the local market, the item is being sold for only P500 to P1,035, according to the NBI chief.

Interestingly, De Castro even introduced himself as a doctor and said that the thermal scanners he was selling were excess of those he donated to hospitals. He also claimed he is “involved in fund-raising efforts for those in need,” said Distor.

An entrapment operation was then launched in coordination with the local police, which led to the arrest of the suspect when he handed the items to the poseur buyer.

Distor confirmed that the suspect is a registered physician.

De Castro was charged with violation of Section 5 (2) for profiteering under the Republic Act 7581 in relation to RA 10623 or the Price Act of the Philippines, as well as with violation of Article 52 (b) of RA 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines.

Following this arrest, Distor also expressed dismay over some who take advantage of the crisis caused by the coronavirus disease to earn money.

“It is deeply saddening and at the same time disturbing that there are people who would be involved in such a heartless act of profiteering at a critical time such as now,” said the NBI chief.

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TAGS: COVID-19, doctor, National Bureau of Investigation, NBI, NcoV, overprice, Thermal Scanner
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