8 arrested in Cebu for selling counterfeit butane, fake STL tickets

8 arrested in Cebu for selling counterfeit butane, fake STL tickets
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THE National Bureau of Investigation Cebu District Office (NBI-Cebdo) arrested eight individuals in three simultaneous sting operations over the past week for selling counterfeit butane products and small-town lottery (STL) tickets.

Five individuals have been arrested for allegedly selling fake STL tickets under the names of King Dragon Gaming and Amusement Corporation.

The suspects were identified as Anna Fe Pedida, Elenita Madelo, Jerome Buot, Jeza Pasaol, and Armando Booc. The former were caught in an entrapment operation in Danao City while the latter was apprehended in a bet-bust operation in San Remigio, Northern Cebu.

Arnel Pura, NBI-Cebdo Mandaue agent-in-charge, told SunStar Cebu on Saturday, March 16, 2024, that five individuals were allegedly involved in the distribution of fake King Dragon STL tickets.

These individuals are believed to be downlines of Libradilla Baring, who was arrested in a previous entrapment operation on February 28.

King Dragon is an authorized agent corporation (AAC) permitted by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to operate and play STL. The company operates from SL Technopark in Barangay Gabi, Cordova.

The NBI was approached by King Dragon in February 2024, after an internal audit revealed unregistered tickets submitted by their bettors.

King Dragon suspected that these unregistered tickets were the cause of their declining income since they started operating in Cebu on October 21, 2023.

Following an investigation, the NBI discovered that Baring was behind selling fake King Dragon STL tickets in Balamban, Consolacion, Argao, and the cities of Talisay, Carcar, and Danao.

Pura said the five suspects were identified through various pieces of evidence gathered upon Baring's arrest.

He added that the suspects did not deny the allegations made against them nor did they resist their arrest.

Pedida, Madelo, Buot, Pasaol, and Booc were endorsed for inquest proceedings for violating Republic Act (RA) 9287, which is also known as an Act Increasing the Penalties of Illegal Numbers Game on Monday, March 11.

Pura mentioned that all suspects have already posted bail for P60,000 each.

In a separate incident, authorities have also arrested Cecilio Gilig, Sarah Jane Altariba, and Victoria Gilig for allegedly selling unregistered butane canisters under the names of Cebu Rufance Multigas Corporation and Servicial LPG Corporation.

The suspects were taken into custody in Olango Island.

According to Pura, Rufance and Servicial sought their office for assistance in arresting the suspects allegedly involved in trademark infringement and unfair competition regarding their butane products.

The NBI conducted an investigation and discovered that the three suspects had been actively engaged in the illegal sale and trading of Rufance and Servicial butane products in Olango for some time.

The suspects reportedly lure buyers by selling their butane products at a price at least P5 lower than that of Rufance and Servicial, who sell their butane canisters for P80 each.

The two Giligs and Altariba have reportedly been involved in the illegal sale of counterfeit, tampered, and underweight LPG butane canisters under the brand name Rufance and Servicial.

Pura said they have also received information that the trio has been protected by high-ranking officials in Olango and Lapu-Lapu City though this information is yet to be verified.

He confirmed that the suspects did not resist their arrest or deny the allegations against them.

Also, on March 11, the three were charged with a possible violation of the LPG Industry Regulation Act (RA 11592) and were endorsed to inquest proceedings. However, the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor's Office released them because their period of detention had already lapsed.

Pura has warned consumers about the potential dangers of buying illegally sold butane canisters that do not meet government standards.

He said these canisters can cause explosions and fire incidents.

Pura advised the public to look for a registration seal when purchasing butane products, especially those from Rufance and Servicial. (HIC)


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