Over the past few weeks, Colourette CEO Nina Ellaine Dizon-Cabrera has seen herself go from whistleblower to whistleblowee in an apparent scam to sell priority vaccine slots. The bewildering experience left her with a first-hand appreciation for the plight of innocent people caught without access to legal assistance, she says, and so the cosmetics company founder vowed to “turn pain into power.”
On May 21, 2021, Cabrera posted screenshots of a text exchange she had with an unidentified person who was apparently selling vaccination slots. In the tweet, Cabrera clarified that she had called the attention of relevant authorities.
Here’s the convo, I already sent this to the LGU that reached out to me so they can investigate. And no, we did not push through with the transaction. I’m not saying this is confirmed, I’m just sharing a sketchy conversation I had with someone who is apparently selling “slots”. pic.twitter.com/Hfua6QZgpg
— Nina (@theninaellaine) May 21, 2021
However, just weeks later, newspapers reported that charges had been filed against Cabrera herself as part of the same scam that she had exposed. “I am completely baffled as to why I am being dragged into this scheme when in fact, I exposed this exact scam on my Twitter account on May 21, 2021,” Cabrera posted on June 10.
Philippine National Police Chief Guillermo Eleazar officially ordered the charges to be withdrawn two days later. “After evaluation by PNP Chief Eleazar, all the charges against me were dropped. The complainant was PNP in general. I only found of the dropped charges the same way I found out that I was being charged — on Twitter lang. No one ever reached out to me personally. Not a call, text message, or e-mail was sent to me,” Cabrera told Coconuts.
The experience was “humbling,” she later said in a video posted on Twitter. Speaking in a Filipino and English, she told her followers: “I also realized how privileged I am, because I had a legal team and I have resources to help clear out all these accusations against me…But what about those who have no resources? How about those who were wrongfully accused?”
Let’s do this! ✊ pic.twitter.com/ncO03lX3cv
— Nina (@theninaellaine) June 14, 2021
And so, Cabrera decided that this month’s big Payday Sale would be devoted “to orgs that protect the rights and welfare of political prisoners in the Philippines”, which would receive one hundred percent of the proceeds of sales for the day.
As of the evening of June 15, the sale had raised over P460,000.
This isn’t the first time that Cabrera had gained attention for using her cosmetics line to donate to advocacies and charities. In November last year, Cabrera had attracted attention for her tweets critical of the Duterte administration’s response to Typhoon Ulysses.
When detractors started using the hashtag #boycottCOLOURETTEcosmetics, Cabrera hopped on the hashtag herself to announce a donation drive. The move helped win the brand more fans, eventually raising over P1.8 million for disaster relief organizations.
For this round, Cabrera says that the company has reached out to Free Legal Assistance Group through Atty. Chel Diokno’s office and Kapatid: Family and Friends of Political Prisoners to be their beneficiaries.
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