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P1 million butane refilling equipment seized
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-7 operatives served the search warrant Monday afternoon that led to the arrest of Winston Kapasilan, the owner, and his assistant, Niño Caesar Auxtero.

P1 million butane refilling equipment seized

Iris Hazel M. Mascardo (The Freeman) - June 17, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — An operator of an illegal butane canister refilling station and his employee were arrested and equipment worth a million pesos were seized by authorities in Cebu City.

National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-7 operatives served the search warrant Monday afternoon that led to the arrest of Winston Kapasilan, the owner, and his assistant, Niño Caesar Auxtero.

The warrant was issued by Cebu City Branch 4 Presiding Judge Jennelyn Forrosuelo for violation of Batas Pambansa 33, as amended by Presidential Decree 1865, an act defining and penalizing certain prohibited acts inimical to public interest and national security involving petroleum products.

The complaint stemmed from the legitimate butane sellers and distributors whose operations have been affected by the illegal butane operators.

Authorities seized sacks of butane canisters, two refilling machines, 50-kilogram liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanks amounting to around P1 million.

 Lawyer Rennan Oliva, NBI-7 regional director, said the business has operated in a residential community in Barangay Cogon Pardo since last year. The station has two refilling machines that could operate 24 hours.

Oliva said the seized canisters are old and are covered with rust.

“In fact, during pag-seize namo, nag-fizz pa ang ubang canisters which is very dangerous. The residents also complained about the station because it is noisy and smelly,” he said.

Oliva said Kapasilan and Auxtero run the business without a valid license to operate.

NBI agent-on-case Wenceslao Galindez Jr. said this was this year’s third operation so far.

He said the selling and the retailing of butane canisters refilled with LPG remain rampant amid the pandemic.

“People patronize buying LGP-filled butane canisters because they are far cheaper than the legitimate ones.”

“There is a surge in demand from people owing to the crisis. They are looking for a cheaper/ an affordable alternative,” he said.

He said the crackdown on illegal refilling butane businesses has been intensified since last year.

The recent operation was a joint effort of the NBI-7 and the Department of Energy (DOE) in Central Visayas.

DOE prohibits the refilling of butane canisters and warns the public that butane canisters refilled with liquefied petroleum gas can explode easily and can cause fire. — KQD (FREEMAN)

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