CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Two outbound travelers were apprehended by government authorities after they presented fake reverse transcription – polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results at the seaport here on July 1.
Dr. Jasper Kent Ola, cluster head of the regional epidemiology surveillance and disaster response unit of the Department of Health (DOH) 10 (Northern Mindanao), said the two Bohol-bound passengers were identified as Mangontawar Sacar Adiong, 57, and Jeremy Adiong, 19, both of Iponan village.
Ola told reporters the suspects were held after the provincial Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) in Bohol informed their office regarding the possible use of fake Covid-19 test results.
The Bohol IATF forwarded all of the documents submitted by the two to the DOH-10 for validation.
The duo claimed to have been tested in a private hospital based on the receipt they presented. Confirmation made by the DOH with the private hospital showed no records of the passengers.
“We have confirmed there (that) no Jeremy Adiong and Mangontawar Adiong got tested at a private hospital and we also found out that their names did not exist in the system,” he said.
The laboratory code numbers that were used by the two passengers were owned by other individuals, whose results were released in 2020.
The DOH is still investigating the possible source of the fake RT-PCR results.
“As of now, we can’t say who made this (the fake results), if they are the ones or there’s another involved behind this. This is the first time we saw hard evidence of fake results of RT-PCR,” Ola said.
He said their office would file a complaint to avoid a repeat of a similar incident, and warned others, saying the DOH has many ways to validate documents.
Police Lt. Annievic Villame, Cagayan de Oro City Police Office spokesperson, said the two accused are detained at the custodial facility of Police Station 5 in Macabalan, awaiting the filing of charges against them.
She said the suspects would be facing violation of Republic Act 11332 or the “Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act” and falsification of public documents. (PNA)