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MAY 24, 2021

MMDA and Mandaluyong City Seek NBI Assistance vs Bakuna for Sale

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has sought the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) following the alleged online selling of government-procured COVID-19 vaccines in the cities of Mandaluyong, San Juan, and Parañaque, among others.

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos and Mandaluyong City Mayor Menchie Abalos have met with NBI Officer-in-Charge Director Eric Distor to discuss the matter.

"We are very thankful to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and NBI Director Distor for heeding our appeal to conduct a thorough investigation on Bakuna for Sale. We already have a lead but we cannot divulge further details so as not to preempt any investigation", Abalos said.

The NBI Cybercrime Division will form a 50-man team to probe the incident. Likewise, the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group will also help in the investigation of the matter.

“We are doing this to show the public that we are serious about these things. They are taking advantage of the pandemic. I hope that the culprit will be captured the soonest possible time. If the modus operandi is true, the PNP and NBI would be filing charges against all individuals behind the Bakuna for Sale. Public officials involved could be charged with estafa and/or bribery, in addition to Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Meanwhile, those involved private individuals may be charged with estafa and/or corruption of public official, or with any other crime or offense as may be warranted under the circumstances and as may be determined by the6 investigators", Abalos said.

Abalos stressed that those who bought the vaccine slots will not get off scot free.

"For those private individuals who, in6 exchange of a bribe, were able to buy the COVID vaccines can be sued and be held liable for corruption of public officials," he said. “If proven to be a scammer, he/she will be charged with Violation of the Bayanihan Act.”

"Let this serve as lesson to everyone. The government will enforce the full extent of the law," the Chairman emphasized.

For her part, Mayor Abalos assured the public that the personnel of Mandaluyong City Health Office are willing to be investigated.

She also reiterated that the city government is not selling COVID-19 vaccines nor vaccination slots to anyone, while encouraging the public not to patronize the illegal selling of the vaccines and instead register via Mandavax.

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