Carmelita “Menchie” Abalos

Suspected COVID-19 vaccine seller surrenders to Abalos

May 26, 2021 People's Tonight 150 views

THE suspect in the “vaccine for sale” scheme that went viral on social media has surrendered to the authorities in Mandaluyong City Wednesday.

In a press conference, Mandaluyong City Mayor Carmelita “Menchie” Abalos presented suspect Kyle Bonifacio to the media and law enforcement authorities.

Abalos said Bonifacio was surrendered by his father, a barangay kagawad in Mandaluyong City after the Mandaluyong police began seeking Bonifacio after his identity came up in their investigation.

“Hindi rin niya alam ‘yun ginagawa ng anak niya kung hindi siya napuntahan ng kapulisan. Voluntary niyang sinurrender sakin ngayon ‘yung kanyang anak,” Abalos said.

In the same press conference, Bonifacio denied selling vaccines and has ambiguously mentioned the involvement of another person in the scheme.

“Hindi po ako talaga nagbenta at ‘yung resibo po na ‘yun ay kusang bigay po sa akin ng taong ‘yun. ‘Yun lamang po,” Bonifacio said.

When pressed on his involvement in the scheme, he denied any connections to the local government of Mandaluyong.

“Wala po akong koneksyon sa LGU (local government unit) dahil isa lang po akong batang estudyante po at malabo po akong magkaroon ng ganung koneksyon,” Bonifacio said.

He insisted that only he, not his father or other people, is involved in the alleged crime.

“Wala pong kinalaman ‘yung tatay ko, ako lamang po ang involved dito at wala ng ibang tao,” Bonifacio said.

He also noted that he is innocent of any wrongdoing.

“Confident po ako na wala po akong kasalanan dito. Lumutang po talaga ako sa publiko para matapos na ‘tong issue na ‘to,” Bonifacio said.

Col. Gauvin Unos, Mandaluyong chief of police, said Bonifacio’s name surfaced in their initial investigation on social media along with the identities of other suspects, with further investigation to focus on finding others involved.

“We are closing on other involved personalities. Of course, with the exploitation of the social media kasi titignan po natin din kung ano ang naging conversation nila dun, to identify the other personalities,” Unos said.

Meantime, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. declared the case as “solved,” noting that Bonifacio would be turned over to the Mandaluyong police and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for further investigation.

Depending on the result of their investigation, he said Bonifacio may face charges such as “estafa, bribery, corruption of a public officer, or even Bayanihan law, by taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He also asked the public to report any other incidents of vaccine selling or those selling vaccination slots — noting that even those who buy from these individuals will be arrested.

“Bawal po ang magbenta ng slot o bakuna — kayo ay makukulong. At dun naman din pong gusto magpabakuna at sumingit at magbabayad, pati kayo po ay makukulong,” the chairman said.

Earlier, social media posts circulated with photos of conversations with individuals offering to sell vaccination slots in Mandaluyong City — with prices of up to P15,500 for a Pfizer vaccine and P8,000 for a Sinovac vaccine.

One of the posts, uploaded by Norman Rabaýa on Twitter, claimed that the vaccine slots being sold would be honored and administered by the Mandaluyong City LGU. Philippine News Agency

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