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Suspect in illegal selling of COVID-19 vaccine surrenders, denies connection to LGU

By Ingrid Isabel Mendoza Published May 27, 2021 8:55 pm

As the investigation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on the alleged illegal selling of COVID-19 vaccine slots continues, one of the suspects turned himself in to Mandaluyong authorities yesterday, May 26.

Cyle Bonifacio, 25, surrendered, but denied allegations of selling vaccine slots or that he was associated with a local government unit (LGU).

“Gusto ko lang po sabihin na hindi po talaga ako nagbenta. Confident po ako na wala po akong kasalanan dito,” Bonfacio said. “Wala akong konesyon sa LGU dahil isa lang akong batang estudyante at malabo po yung magkaroon ako ng ganoong koneksyon.”

Bonifacio did not elaborate on where he got the receipt showing a bank deposit for P12,000 in a branch in Mandaluyong, allegedly for a COVID vaccine slot. Screenshots of this receipt and text messages for vaccine shots in Mandaluyong began circulating on social media on May 21.

The “vaccine-for-sale” scheme was reportedy selling the shots between P10,000 and P15,000 depending on the brand.

“Ako lamang po ang involved dito, at wala nang ibang tao,” Bonifacio claimed.

The PNP said it has accumulated records that connected Bonifacio to the case. “Lumabas po sa ating initial findings, lumutang po itong si Mr. Bonifacio. Fortunately, humarap siya ngayon kasi we have been looking for him. Dito po kasi magsisimula uli ang mga identities, kung sino pa yung mga involved,” Mandaluyong Police Chief Col. Mel Unos said.

Charges against Bonifacio have not been filed as police said they will conduct further investigation to identify other people involved in the scheme.

‘Fullest extent’ of the law

People caught selling COVID-19 vaccines will be punished to the “fullest extent” of the law, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos Jr. told PTVPHilippines’ Laging Handa when the investigation started.

“Winawarningan ko po kayo, the full extent of the law will be applied here,” Abalos said. He emphasized that they will be liable for at-least three crimes: Estafa or “fraudulent acts of pretending to possess power or influence”; direct bribery of “any public officer who shall agree to perform any act constituting a crime”; and going against the Bayanihan Law, as they have “scammed and spread false information on COVD-19 on social media.”

People who are inoculated with illegally procured vaccines will also be jailed, he warned.

The Philippines has administered at least 4,495,375 doses of COVID vaccines.