NBI-Cabanatuan nabs online seller of overpriced alcohol

NBI-Cabanatuan nabs online seller of overpriced alcohol
National Bureau of Investigation agents arrest an online trader for allegedly selling overpriced alcohol products during an entrapment operation on Friday in Cabanatuan City. Photo shows the suspect after receiving the buy-bust money in exchange for all the alcohol items loaded in the trunk of his car. Photo by STEVE A. GOSUICO

CABANATUAN CITY – National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents nabbed a male online trader for allegedly selling overpriced isopropyl alcohol products with no labels during an entrapment operation conducted here on April 3, Friday afternoon.

NBI-Cabanatuan District office head, Pedro C. Roque Jr., identified the arrested suspect as Rodolfo Santiago, 35, of Bgy. Bicos, Rizal, Nueva Ecija.

His arrest was carried out during an entrapment operation conducted in front of the Green Spring Furniture shop in Bgy. Dicarma at 4 p.m. here.

Roque said the operation was hatched after a female co-online seller of the suspect, identified as “Ethel” tagged him as the “main source” of isopropyl alcohol needed for the transaction.

He said Santiago became their main target after "Ethel" backed out of the deal because she had no sufficient stocks to cover the "big bulk" of alcohol being ordered for purchase by the NBI poseur-buyer. 

After several phone calls, the deal was finally concluded on April 2 for the scheduled delivery and purchase the next day of about ten gallons of isopropyl alcohol with an overpriced selling price of P900 per gallon and P330 per liter, said Roque.

The suspect was immediately collared after receiving from NBI undercover agents the buy-bust money worth over P20,000 in exchange for all the alcohol items loaded at the back of his Nissan Sentra sedan.

"Inalok na ng suspect ang lahat ng dala niyang alcohol kaya dinagdagan ang cash, mahigit 20k ang naging halaga lahat-lahat sa buy-bust," said Roque.

Seized during the operation were 31 different plastic containers having varying isopropyl alcohol contents. 11 pieces-per gallon, 16-per liter, and four half-gallons with each container having no price tags and labels.

For selling isopropyl alcohol beyond the price ceiling (P488/gallon or P61/500ml) set by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Health under the price freeze policy for an essential commodity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the suspect was slapped with violations of Republic Act 7581 or the "Price Act" and Article 81 of Republic Act 7394 (The Consumer Act of the Philippines).