Whistleblower turned suspect in vax slot sale scam cries foul

A cosmetics executive is “really, really surprised” that she was included by the police in the list of suspects in the alleged sale of COVID-19 vaccination slots when she had exposed the scheme on Twitter.

Nina Ellaine Dizon-Cabrera, CEO of makeup brand Colourette Cosmetics, said: “I was the one who posted about this alleged scheme. What happened was I saw a ‘for sale’ post online and then I inquired. And then I found out that they were selling not vaccines but vaccine slots from LGUs. So I took it to Twitter.”

“And then all of a sudden, I was caught in the middle. I was dragged into the case, saying I had the intent to sell—but really, I was the one who exposed it,” Cabrera told ANC’s Headstart.

She exposed the scheme on her Twitter account after seeing a post by someone selling COVID-19 vaccines.

Cabrera contacted the local government of San Juan after her posts on Twitter, where she has at least 123,000 followers, went viral.

“I posted everything on Twitter, all of my conversations... (Followers) even thanked me for all the information I passed on to them,” she said.

Still, the Philippine National Police announced Thursday that Cabrera and 2 others were charged with estafa, violation of the Anti-Red Tape Law of 2007, and of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

Citing reports by the Anti-Cybercrime Group, PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said Cabrera was tagged after investigation showed that she offered 50 to 100 vaccination slots in Mandaluyong City. This supposedly showed intent to sell and alleged involvement in the illegal activity.

“Wait. BAT AKO UNG NAGBENTA BIGLA? Ako nga yung binentahan at ako ang nagpost? (Why am I suddenly the seller? I was the one sold to, and I posted this.) Hold on,” Cabrera tweeted following the PNP press release.

Cabrera told ANC there were “no signs of communication” from the PNP about her supposed involvement, which was why she was surprised when her name popped up in news articles on Wednesday.

“Nobody ever reached out to me, which is why I was really surprised when I saw the article yesterday. Nobody asked me questions, nobody asked me anything about it. I was only in touch with San Juan LGU upon posting on May 21 and that was it,” she said.

The businesswoman noted, in her conversation with the seller, that she inquired where the vaccines would be sourced from. She tweeted it after learning it would be from the San Juan LGU.

“That’s why I’m really, really surprised. I’m completely baffled as to how they got to that conclusion when I posted it myself. Why would I expose myself?” she said.

Cabrera said she and her lawyer are still waiting for the official letter from the prosecution. She said while she is angry, she is not worried because “the truth will prevail as always.”

“I am telling the truth. I’m a really bad liar, so you would really catch me in the act if I am lying. I’m very transparent because I am a Twitter personality and I tend to share everything that I find out, which is why my hands are clean and I really don’t have any involvement in this,” she said.

“I will fight these charges,” Cabrera said, adding she is also considering counter charges against the PNP.

Topics: Whistleblower , Nina Ellaine Dizon-Cabrera , Twitter , COVID-19 vaccination slots , Anti-Red Tape Law of 2007 , Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012
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