THE Department of Justice (DOJ) has formally released a department order directing the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an investigation into the reported sale of COVID-19 shots, and vaccination slots.
“The NBI through Officer-in-Charge Eric B. Distor, is hereby directed and granted authority to conduct an investigation on the alleged illegal sale of COVID-19 vaccines and/or sale of vaccination slots,” read Department Order No. 120.
“If evidence warrants, to file the appropriate charges against all persons involved and found responsible for any unlawful act in connection therewith,” it added.
Distor was required to submit a progress report within 10 days and periodically thereafter. NBI is an attached agency of the DOJ.
The investigation was upon the request of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos.
According to Abalos, individuals who offer vaccine slots for a fee to netizens could be slapped with estafa or direct bribery charges, among others.
Abalos on Monday warned that those who bought the vaccine slots may also be held criminally liable.
“Doon sa mga pribado na gustong magpabakuna, madedemanda din siya, ” he said. “They are a principal by inducement.”
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año has previously directed Joint Task Force COVID Shield to determine whether the sale of vaccination slots is merely a scam or actually going on.
The DILG expressed alarm over reports that vaccination slots sold online fetch as much as P12,000.