Thermal gun supplier in CDO arrested for overpricing

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 25 March) – The National Bureau of Investigation seized hundreds of overpriced thermal guns and arrested an employee of a medical store in Barangay Gusa here Tuesday afternoon.

Thermal guns are common in many establishments these days to measure body temperature of shoppers as part of the measures to help curb transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

The NBI also filed charges against Lorna Chong, owner of Life Corps Medcare; and her employee Melissa Escoro, 34, a resident of Zone 7, Barangay Carmen this city for violation of Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act of the Philippines.

NBI 10 Director Patricio Bernales said they seized 208 units of thermal guns valued at P1.928 million at the Life Corps Medcare office along the Old Road in Barangay Gusa.

Bernales said they learned of the overpriced thermal guns when they saw an advertisement on the internet.

“They were selling the thermal guns at P9,500 each when the suggested retail price was only between P4,000 and P5,000,” he said.

Bernales said the Department of Trade and Industry’s SRP is P4,000 to P5,000 for branded thermal guns and P1,000 to P1,500 for the China-made items.

He said all of the 208 thermal guns were made in China.

Bernales said after negotiating with the vendor online, an NBI team went to the Life Corps Medcare office posing as buyers intending to get three units.

He said Escoro allegedly counted the money the team offered for the three thermal guns they were buying.

“We made the arrest when she finished counting the marked money,” Bernales said.

Gusa Barangay Chairman Marlon Tabac said Chong is a legitimate medical supplier registered in his village.

He said Chong regularly secures a barangay clearance every time she renewed her business license every year.

“Her items being sold are among the cheapest in the pool of medical suppliers in the city,” Tabac said.

When they were looking for thermal guns last week, Tabac said Chong offered them at P2,500 a unit.

He said they ordered five units.

“But when the items arrived, they told us the items is no longer available at P2,500 but at P9,500,” Tabac said.

Tabac said he did not continue the purchase as these are already too expensive for their budget. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)