NBI probes report of oxygen tank hoarding
JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra issued a memorandum on Thursday directing the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct an investigation into the alleged hoarding of medical oxygen tanks and other medical supplies in Cebu and other parts of the country amid the anticipated surge in Covid-19 cases.
The NBI would closely coordinate with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to probe the reported hoarding, according to Guevarra.
“In the interest of the service and pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act 10867 or the National Bureau of Investigation Reorganization and Modernization Act, which authorizes the Secretary of Justice to direct the National Bureau of Investigation to undertake the investigation of any crime when public interest so requires, the NBI, through Officer-incharge [OIC] Eric Distor is hereby directed and granted authority to conduct an investigation on the alleged hoarding of medical oxygen tanks and other medical supplies in Cebu and other parts of the country where incidents of Covid-19 cases are high or expected to rise, if evidence warrants, to file appropriate charges against all persons involved and found responsible for any unlawful act in connection therewith,” Guevarra said.
Guevarra also directed Distor to submit reports on the progress of its investigation to his office within 10 days.
The justice chief issued the order after the Philippine National Police (PNP) ordered a separate probe on the matter following Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama’s claim about the supposed hoarding of oxygen tanks amid the rising Covid-19 cases.
The DTI has also warned erring distributors and hoarders of oxygen tanks that it would take action against them.