Authorities nabbed an online seller of envelopes in Cavite bearing designs of counterfeit P1,000 bill prints.
The seller delivered 150 pieces “ang pao”-style money envelopes to an undercover agent of the National Bureau of Investigation, leading to the arrest, GMA News reported Wednesday, December 29.
The tradition of giving away ang pao or red Chinese envelopes containing money is a form of monetary gift-giving during holidays in the Philippines.
While red envelopes with Chinese design details are still the norm, some people use ordinary envelopes or containers with different designs to ask for cash gifts.
In the video report, the online merchant keeps telling the reporter and cops that she was only selling the containers or the envelopes themselves.
“Pinaprint ko lang po. Di po ako gumagawa noon,” the seller was quoted as saying in the report.
According to Armida Artango, payment and currency development at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, this action was in violation of BSP Circular 829 Series of 2014.
“Ang paggamit ng image, pagkakahawig o kapareho ng image ng Philippine currency bank notes natin ay ipinagbabawal unless otherwise humingi po sila ng authority sa Bangko Sentral,” Artango was quoted as saying in the report.
Some Filipinos in the comments section, however, argued that the NBI should have pursued the manufacturers, rather than just the merchants.
“Mas maigi po sana kung ang hinuli nila ay yun mismo nagmamanufacture ng ganyan…si ate gusto lang kumita,” one user said.
Others also pointed out that she was only selling envelopes, not counterfeit money.
“Hulihin ninyo mga gumagawang fake money na ginagamit pambili or pambayad iyan hndi namn ginagamit pambili yan mali kayo jan alam niyo namn envelope lang yan,” one user said.
“Pareho lang yan sa play money. Naka fold namn yan. Wala rin warning. Wag niyo naman po hayaang makolong. New Year pa naman. Pinagsabihan niyo nalang sana… (prayer emojis) na bawal yan,” another user added.
The BSP had ramped up its anti-counterfeiting operations this year. It has already confiscated nearly half a million pesos worth of fake bank notes from January to September.
“The BSP continues to protect and promote the integrity of the Philippine banknotes and coins through sustained efforts against the counterfeiting of currency,” the central bank previously said.
Republic Act 10951, Section 22 states that “forging treasury or bank notes or other documents payable to bearer; Importing, and uttering such false or forged notes and documents” is punishable by a minimum of reclusion temporal and a P2 million worth of fine.