MANILA – More than PHP41.7 million worth of medical supplies seized in crackdowns against hoarders and profiteers by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will be turned over to hospitals soon, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Wednesday.
In a press statement, Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said concerned agencies have agreed in principle to the emergency measure in light of the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, noting that the final routing for the approval of an inter-agency circular is nearing completion.
Perete explained that in regular times, the forfeiture and disposition of goods must first be presented as evidence in the cases filed against the alleged hoarders or profiteers.
“In times of emergency, we can dispose of (the seized items even pending litigation) provided we follow the procedure,” he said.
Aside from the DOJ, the Department fo Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have already approved the inter-agency circular.
An approval is also needed from the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture for the seizure and forfeiture or disposition of confiscated goods, Perete said.
“The DTI and BOC conduct seizure proceedings on overpriced or smuggled goods respectively, the goods are either forfeited in favor of the government or disposed of according to the Price Act or Customs Modernization and Tariff Act,” he said.
He added that for some seized items, likewise needed is the approval of the Food and Drug Administration to ensure that it is safe for public consumption. (PNA)