MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the authorities to go after those who are selling fake identification cards (IDs) that will purportedly serve as a quarantine pass amid the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte is directing the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to ensure the immediate arrest of those behind the sale of fake IDs bearing the President’s signature.
“Inaatasan po ng Pangulo ang PNP at ang NBI na imbestigahan itong mga anomalyang ito. Ito po ay krimen (The President is ordering the PNP and NBI to investigate these anomalies. This is a crime),” Roque said in a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4.
Roque’s statement came following reports that people are enticed to buy fake IDs with Duterte’s signature and Malacañan’s logo for them to pass through quarantine checkpoints.
The fake IDs were purportedly being sold at between PHP1,000 and PHP3,000.
Roque said culprits would face criminal charges, which include falsification of documents and estafa.
“Ito po ay falsification of public documents at ito po ay estafa dahil sila ay nagbebenta. So habulin po ang mga criminal na iyan at sila ay ikulong (Criminal offenses include falsification of documents and estafa because they are selling fake IDs. We should run after those criminals and detain them),” he said.
On April 18, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commissioner Greco Belgica warned the public against those people who are taking advantage of the situation amid the ECQ in Luzon.
Belgica issued the stern warning after the PACC had received complaint that a person pretending to be a member of the Presidential Task Force on Moral Recovery is selling fake IDs that can be used as “Covid-19 quarantine pass or working permit.”
Belgica said the suspect was identified as Marvin Cuna, a resident of Biñan, Laguna.
Cuna was arrested in an entrapment operation on April 16, Belgica said.
A motorist, identified as Roy del Rosario, was also apprehended on Monday on Edsa northbound lane near Camp Aguinaldo for using a falsified document purportedly issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government to be able to pass through quarantine checkpoints.
The entire Luzon island was placed under ECQ until April 30 to stop the further transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country.
Despite this, many continue to defy the quarantine protocols to contain the spread of Covid-19.
In a separate virtual press briefing, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Norgales cited report from the PNP that to date, there have already been 130,177 ECQ violators.
Some 30,366 of the ECQ violators have been arrested, Nograles said.
Nograles also noted the arrest of around 2,740 drivers of private vehicles who have violated social distancing rules, based on the report of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
“These are not trivial violations,” he said. “Every time an individual violates ECQ guidelines, he or she chooses to become a health threat to those who abide by it.”
Under Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, quarantine violators will face one-year imprisonment or a fine ranging from PHP10,000 to PHP1 million, or both.
(Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos/PNA)