The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said Friday agents of NBI-Special Action Unit (NBI-SAU) arrested two individuals in Tondo, Manila for selling COVID-19 vaccination slots.
NBI Officer-in-Charge Director Eric B. Distor identified the suspects as Benjie Lagasca Montaos and Arturo Flores Magtalas.
Suspects were presented for inquest proceedings before the Office of the City Prosecutor, Manila for violations of RA 11032 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 and RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Additional charges for violation of R 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) were filed against Arturo F. Magtalas.
Distor said the case stemmed from a report regarding an alleged illegal sale of vaccination slots to POGO employees by certain “Benjie.”
According to the information received, Benjie offered to personally assist the individuals who wish to avail themselves of the vaccination in Manila.
Benjie further explained that for these individuals to get vaccinated, they should each possess a stub or ticket in the vaccination site.
The stubs of tickets would be given personally by Benjie on the day of the vaccination for the consideration of P6,000 per vaccination slot.
Under the instruction and supervision of NBI-SAU, the informant responded to Benjie that 10 POGO employees would avail themselves of the vaccination slots he offered for a total P60,000.
Benjie further instructed the informant to register the details of the POGO employees online through www.manilacovid19vaccine.ph and to use the address 1248 Juan Luna St., Tondo, Manila, Brgy. 56, Zone 5, District 1, Tondo 1 in the said registration and had all the copies thereof sent to his Viber account.
On July 23, 2021, Benjie contacted the informant and told him that the 10 slots for vaccination would be available the following day in General Vicente Lim Elementary School, Tondo, Manila.
With this, an entrapment operation was hatched.
On July 24, 2021, NBI-SAU proceeded to the vaccination site and positioned themselves around the area.
Poseur-clients and the informant were personally met by Benjie and male companion identified as Brgy. Kagawad Arturo Magtalas.
Benjie and Magtalas assisted the team in the parking and guided them to the reserved seats in the waiting area of the vaccination site.
Benjie asked for the hard copies of the waivers and vaccination ID QR code.
When the team asked for the stubs/tickets for the vaccination slots, Benjie instructed them to discreetly board a black Hyundai Starex with plate number WLI 182 parked nearby.
Inside the vehicle, Benjie handed to the poseur-client 10 stubs with numbers 222-231. Benjie then demanded the P60,000 which the poseur-client handed to the suspect.