President Rodrigo Duterte asked Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to explain after he was blamed for the Pfizer vaccine deal’s alleged delay.
It would be recalled that Sen. Panfilo Lacson that the Philippines would have been able to get 10 million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by January if the secretary had not neglected the documents needed by the drug firm.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez allegedly closed the agreement.
But Duque said Pfizer does not have a 10 million vaccine promise that should have arrived by January.
“I don’t recall na may ganoong definite na makakakuha kayo ng 10 million doses, there was nothing like it, everything was indicative… There is no such thing as I did not act quick enough. You go through a process… No deadline was set by Pfizer, nothing in all our documents,” he said.
According to Duque, Pfizer sent their confidential disclosure agreement (CDA) on August 11 and not in July. And it was not to be signed by the DOH, but by the Office of the President.
Duque: Pfizer did not promise 10 million COVID-19 vaccines
“I just want to state that it was Pfizer that wanted the Office of the President. We needed to negotiate with them sa signatory kasi nga may DOST (Department of Science and Technology), may DOH, ES (Executive Secretary) nagkakaproblema. Sino ba talaga? We follow the process, but Pfizer wanted the OP under the Executive Secretary representing the OP,” Duque explained.
According to Duque, it was September 25 when Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea ordered him to sign the government’s CDA.
Duque signed the CDA on October 20, three weeks after Medialdea’s order.
“[M]ay mga provisions na hindi kami nagkakasundo. So the process of going back and forth, until I asked the deputy executive secretary on the day I was going to sign it, sabi ko ‘Itong provision I have some discomfort’ [and] he said ‘It’s your judgment call’… So I signed it. I put my life in the line for this,” said Duque.
Duque and Locsin have different versions of the story, so Duterte asked Duque to explain.