Over an estimated Three and a Half Million Pesos (P3.5M) worth of basic goods were seized in an entrapment operation conducted last 30 April 2020 by the Department of Trade and Industry–Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (DTI-FTEB) headed by Director Ronnel O. Abrenica, together with Philippine National Police–Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) led by Police Colonel (PCOL) Erwin Dayag in Alabang-Zapote Road, Las Pinas City.

DTI-CIDG seizing boxes of Lucky Me instant noodles as part of the buy bust operation

In the said buy bust operation, the DTI and CIDG recovered more than 6,000 boxes of Lucky Me Instant Noodles (Beef and Chicken) which resulted to the arrest two (2) individuals. It was found that the instant noodles were sold online at P9.50 per piece contrary to the issued Price Freeze of Basic Necessities in the National Capital Region (NCR) which is P7.75 per piece. The seized goods are in the custody of the Assistant Vice President of the Legal Department of SM Group of Companies who undertakes to fully cooperate with the DTI and CIDG in their ongoing investigation. However, SM and the aforementioned Executive are not involved in the online resale of overpriced items of certain individuals.

All confiscated pieces of evidence are with the Anti-Trans National Crime Unit (ATCU) of the CIDG for proper documentation and disposition. Arrested suspects will face charges pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 7581 or the Price Act as amended by RA 10623, RA 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines, RA 11469 or the Bayanihan Act, and Article 151 in relation to Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code.

DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez underscored that, “Following the directive of President Duterte, the DTI and partner enforcement agencies such as the PNP-CIDG and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), are very serious in going after erring individuals and business establishments, whether operating in a physical or online platform. The utmost protection to the rights, welfare, and safety of consumers is very crucial, especially at this time.”

 “The DTI requests for the cooperation of the public in reporting incidents of overpricing and hoarding in the market. Those found violating will be dealt with to the fullest and highest extent of the law,” seconded DTI-Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo.

Consumers are reminded to always check the issued  Price Freeze of Basic Necessities in their respective areas through this link,  for their information and guidance. For complaints, inquiries, and/or clarifications, consumers may contact the One-DTI (1-384) Hotline or send an email to consumercare@dti.gov.ph.♦

Date of Release: 7 May 2020