Malacañang denies tolerating illegal COVID-19 vaccinations

Palace denied Wednesday that it is tolerating illegal COVID-19 vaccinations amid reports that Mon Tulfo, President Duterte’s envoy to China has been vaccinated with smuggled vaccine.

“Wala pong ganyang polisiya [ng pagkunsinti sa smuggling], dahil kung meron pong ganyang polisiya, siguro commercial quantity na ang kumalat na mga bakuna na hindi naaprubahan,” Palace spokesperson Harry Roque said.

“Pero inaantay po talaga natin ang aksyon ng [Food and Drug Administration] sa mga bagay-bagay na ito,” he added.

Tulfo had earlier said in his Manila Times column that he would send a letter to the Chinese pharma company to get a Sinopharm vaccine for him and his family.

The Department of Health (DOH) recently said that Tulfo – a Duterte appointee – could be punished for using a vaccine that has no authorization (EUA).

Tulfo still does not want to specify his “friend” who smuggled the Sinopharm vaccine in the Philippines, even though it is against Republic Act 9711. Tulfo also refused to name some Cabinet officials and the senator who also received the vaccine.

Tulfo is said to be ready to resign from the government position once he is allowed to become a distributor of Sinopharm in the Philippines, he shared on TeleRadyo earlier.

Malacañang denies tolerating illegal COVID-19 vaccinations

“Yes, willing ako [bitiwan ang posisyon bilang special envoy kung magiging Sinopharm distributor],” he said.

He also said that he does not feel “guilt” for what he did, even though COVID-19 vaccines are still not given to healthcare workers, senior citizens, and other Filipinos who are highly vulnerable to the disease.

“I don’t entertain guilt feelings about having [been] injected with the vaccine kasi I was not doing so as a government official but as a private citizen,” he said.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate is now calling for an investigation into the “VIP vaccinations.”

“The House should start the probe now as it appears that it is not only the Presidential Security Group (PSG) that has undergone VIP vaccinations but other governement officials as well using smuggled vaccines, based on Mon Tulfo’s confession,” said Zarate.

“We filed House Resolution 1451 to look into this issue early this year but it still has to be  calendared for hearing. Investigating this anomaly would also put to rest rumors that even Cabinet members and members of Congress were also among those already inoculated along with Mon Tulfo,” he added.