8 barrels of illegally sold diesel seized; 4 arrested

·2 min read

THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested four persons and seized eight barrels of illegally sold fuel in an operation in Compostela town, northern Cebu on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.

Special Investigator Bienvenido Panican, of the NBI Cebu District Office-Mandaue City Executive Office Operation, said the eight barrels of diesel were worth around P130,000. They were seized from a compound in Barangay Canamucan.

Arrested were Dexter Pasaol, 38, owner of the compound; Orlando Opon, 43, the person in-charge; Joseph Opon, 23, Orlando’s nephew; and Jonas Bantawig, 49.

Based on the NBI’s investigation, the barrels of fuel were brought into the compound via fuel trucks from a direct supplier.

Panican said the seized diesel fuel was sold illegally at P65 per liter without appropriate permits. The price of diesel in gasoline stations is currently at P85 per liter.

To be able to sell petroleum products, Panican said individuals must first secure a certificate of compliance from the Department of Energy (DOE).

Fire hazard

Panican reminded consumers against buying illegally sold petroleum products, saying these are the most common cause of engine fire.

He also warned consumers lured by its low price that using adulterated or less concentrated fuel is a hazard to vehicle engines, as it may cause severe damage to the vehicles and will make them susceptible to exploding.

He said the fuel seized Wednesday were stored in containers that were improperly sealed, making it prone to getting mixed with rain water and other particles.

“It is a danger to vehicles when used,” Panican said.

Meanwhile, Pasaol, in an interview with the media, denied having a direct supplier.

He said they only gathered the leftovers from hoses of fuel trucks that pass by the highway near his compound.

He also said they only sell diesel, not other products.

Panican said the barrels, each of which contains about 200 liters of diesel, will be turned over to the DOE’s stock center in Naga City, Cebu.

The suspects, he added, will face charges for violating the Presidential Decree 1865, or the prohibition of illegal trading in petroleum and/or petroleum products.

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