by Louella G. Vizcocho
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — An early morning raid by elements of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Intelligence and Investigation Office (IIO) on Monday caught “red-handed” employees of Phil-Em Enterprise Incorporated erasing and replacing the expiration dates of various food products.
The raid was conducted at Phil-Em’s warehouse at the former Ship Repair Facility (SRF) complex of the US Navy, now known as the Freeport’s Global Industrial Park, on the strength of a search warrant issued by an Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC).
“It saddens me to know that some unscrupulous people are taking advantage of others especially in this time of a pandemic,” SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said, adding that she has immediately ordered the suspension of the Certificate of Registration and Tax Exemption (CRTE) of Phil-Em Enterprise.
She said that the consent to sublease given to Phil-Em Enterprise for the use of a warehouse at the Global Industrial Park may also be withdrawn if warranted.
According to SBMA-IIO officer-in-charge Rodel del Rosario, the NBI-SBMA IIO operatives confiscated four Citronex printers with conveyors, 150 reams of label stickers, 50 reams of various printed label stickers, and two cans of eraser fluid.
Also seized were several boxes of food items like Clover Chips, Ligo sardines, Nissins Cup Noodles, Century Tuna, Milo energy Drink, Sky Flakes crackers, Star margarine, Magnolia cheese, Royal and Fiesta pasta, Lily’s peanut butter, and food seasoning.
Phil-Em owner Philip Velasco was arrested along with employees during the raid, Del Rosario also said. They were brought to the NBI office in Olongapo for further investigation.
Velasco’s business partner Amanda Pathak, who was also named in the search warrant, will also be charged by the NBI, said Del Rosario.
The suspects will be charged with violation of RA 7394, or the Consumer Act of the Philippines, RA 9711 of the Food and Drugs Administration Act of 2009, and RA 10611 or the Food Safety Act of 2013.