FAKE PARCELS. Operatives from the city government of Manila discover parcels containing stones, instead of phones, carefully wrapped and ready for shipping during a surprise inspection of the online selling depot in Paco on Wednesday (Sept. 29, 2021). Charges are being readied against the owners of the warehouse Apollo Electronic Accessories. (Photo courtesy of BPLO)

MANILA – Instead of cellphones sold online, operatives of the Manila city hall have discovered stones placed inside boxes carefully wrapped using bubble wraps and ready for shipping during a surprise inspection of an online seller depot on Wednesday.

During the joint inspection at a warehouse in Paco, the Manila Police District Special Mayor's Reaction Team (MPD-SMaRT) led by Col. Rosalino Ibay Jr. and Manila Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO) Director Levi Facundo found that the bulk of Lazada parcels actually contain rocks.

The business establishment, identified as Apollo Electronic Accessories, is involved in the online selling of mobile phones.

“It was discovered that they put rocks inside the packaging instead of phones. They get the actual weight and put black plastic cornered pieces to form a triangular shape like a box of a cellphone. Usually on a bulk order like six in a pack and the weight would be similar to the weight of the six combined phones,” Facundo said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency.

“Discovered inside are rocks and a hammer. The hammer is being used to cut the rocks depending on the weight needed to complete a package,” Facundo added.

Facundo said they also discovered that the company has no business permit, occupational permit, and barangay clearance.

He said the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration certificate showed that its primary business is furniture and fixtures, with electronics as secondary.

“Meaning, they cannot operate without the primary business. What was discovered inside were boxes of generic android cellphones from China,” Facundo said.

Several cellphones, apparently returned by displeased customers, were also found inside the warehouse, but the MPD Smart noticed that the gadgets have no approved stickers of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC).

Ibay said the phones found inside the warehouse are substandard.

“It looks like there is also false advertising here since the online ad shows original photos of Oppo, Samsung phones and the ones being delivered have the same looks without the brand,” Facundo said.

A certain Ken Ang was subject of the operation but the lease contract from the administrative office is named after a different person, Facundo said.

He said both the subject and the person written in the lease contract were present at the time of the inspection.

The Manila Bureau of Permits (BOP) is set to file cases against the subjects. (PNA)