Whistle-blower eyes suit vs PNP vaccine sale

Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - June 11, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The person who exposed the alleged sale of COVID-19 vaccine slots is considering filing counter-charges against the Philippine National Police (PNP) for implicating her in the scam.

Nina Ellaine Dizon-Cabrera, chief executive officer of Colourette Cosmetics, said she is studying whether to sue the PNP for dragging her name into the controversy.

“This is actually an option we are considering right now,” she said in an interview over ANC.

Cabrera said she is discussing her next moves with her lawyer but stressed she will definitely fight the charges, which she described as baseless.

“My hands are clean and I really don’t have involvement in this. I will fight these charges,” she said.

The PNP has yet to issue a reply on Cabrera’s latest statement.

The PNP Criminal Investigation Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) filed charges of estafa, violation of Republic Act 11032 or the Anti-Red Tape Act and RA 10175 or the Anti-Cybercrime Prevention Act against Cabrera before the Mandaluyong prosecutor’s office on Monday.

Also included in the charge sheet are Cyle Cedric Bonfiacio and Melvin Gutierrez, whom police earlier tagged in the alleged scheme.

The PNP said it implicated Cabrera in the scam after an investigation by the police Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) showed she allegedly offered 50 to 100 vaccination slots in Mandaluyong.

Probers cited one of Cabrera’s supposed posts in one of her social media accounts, in which she allegedly offered vaccination slots.

Cabrera expressed disbelief that the PNP filed charges against her when she was the one who exposed the alleged scam through Twitter.

“I am completely baffled as to how they got to that conclusion when I posted it myself. Why would I expose myself?” she said.

What happened, she explained, was that she saw a “for sale” post of COVID-19 vaccines on Instagram and made an inquiry. She said she was looking to buy vaccines for her employees when she saw the post.

“I inquired and then I found out that they were actually selling not vaccines but vaccine slots from LGUs (local government units),” she said.

Sensing that something was wrong, Cabrera said she posted screenshots of her conversation with the seller on Twitter on May 21 to alert the authorities. She said the city government of San Juan, one of the LGUs where the alleged scam is taking place, sought more details from her.

The other LGU where vaccine slots were reportedly being sold is Mandaluyong.

“I posted it because I was really surprised, and then all of a sudden I was caught in the middle, I was dragged into the case saying that I had the intent to sell, but really I was the one who exposed it,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera also lamented that the PNP never reached out to her to get her side, and she was surprised upon learning that charges were filed against her.

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