Police raid print shop producing fake medical certificates of COVID-19 results

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 23) - Police on Thursday raided a printing shop in Quezon City for allegedly producing fake medical certificates of COVID-19 results.

The Quezon City Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) organized an entrapment operation in the afternoon at Brgy. Pasong Putik after a social media post went viral exposing the scheme.

Authorities arrested two employees and confiscated the printers, computers, and other hardware as evidence.

A concerned resident named "Shin," not her real name, was behind the viral post on Facebook.

"Shin" related that she went to the shop to avail of its printing services in the morning. To her surprise, she saw an employee changing a name in a scanned rapid test result document using a photo editing software.

The original document indicates that the patient was tested negative of IgG and IgM antibodies.

"Shin" also said that she saw a man holding copies of rapid test results, whom she alleged was the one who requested the alteration of the documents.

“Nagulat and sobrang na-disappoint po ako actually, ‘di ko alam kung anong mararamdaman ko eh,” she told CNN Philippines. “Nakakainis din kasi na may mga taong nakakaisip ng ganito.”

[Translation: I was actually surprised and disappointed, I don’t know what to feel about it. It’s just annoying to know that there are people who can think of this kind of scheme.]

Dr. Kathleen Timogan, the doctor who signed the certificate, immediately contacted the authorities after seeing the viral post.

Timogan expressed dismay for using her name and that of her laboratory clinic in the illegal activity.

“Hindi naman basta-basta ‘diba ‘yung pinaghirapan mo, ‘yung license mo na ganyan, balewala lang dahil sa mga ginagawa ng ibang tao,” Timogan said.

[Translation: I worked hard for everything, especially my license. But they become insignificant because of what some people do.]

Police Captain Edwin Pugan of QC CIDG said several charges will be filed against the personnel and owner of the printing shop.

Among these are violations of Article 171 (Flasification by Public Officer, Employee, or Notary, or Ecclastic Minister) in relation to Article 172 (Falsification by Private Individuals and Use of Falsified Documents) of the Revised Penal Code.

“Mag-iisang taon na sila nag-o-operate and nalaman pa namin wala pang business permit po sila,” Pugan disclosed. “Itong ginagawa nila eh matagal na at kapag nagpagawa ka ng certification sa kanila, bawat edit, P25 to P30.”

[Translation: They have been operating for almost a year and we found out that they don’t have a business permit. They have been doing this for a long time and if you want to have a certification made by them, it costs P25 to P30.]

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) Spokesperson BGen. Bernard Banac said the personnel also violated Section 9 of the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

The section prohibits tampering of records or intentionally providing misinformation. The PNP warned the public that authorities would arrest anyone who presents falsified or tampered documents.

CNN Philippines' correspondent Rex Remitio contributed to this report