Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said he was unaware the President Duterte’s special envoy to China Mon Tulfo, together with other Cabinet-level officials and a senator allegedly got vaccinated with smuggled Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines in October 2020.
“I am not aware of that. Hindi namin napag-usapan sa Cabinet meeting. That is news to me,” Nograles said in an ANC interview on Wednesday.
“I really don’t know the details,” Nograles added.
Mon Tulfo told One News that he sees no conflict in getting the Chinese vaccine and his application to be a distributor or Sinopharm in the Philippines while being Duterte’s special envoy.
“You have to understand that although I’m special envoy to China, I’m also a private citizen. Naga-apply ako ng distributorship ng Sinopharm,” Tulfo said.
“Kaya ko naisipan na magpabakuna kasi ang available sa market although smuggled nga kaya ay gusto kong makatiyak na kung effective sa akin, malamang effective sa sambayanan,” he added.
(So I thought of getting vaccinated because it is available in the market although smuggled. I want to make sure that if it is effective for me, it is probably effective for the people.)
Nograles unaware that Mon Tulfo, Cabinet execs, senator got smuggled Sinopharm
Mon Tulfo said he was already 74 years old and had several allergies.
“I never used my position as special envoy in securing the vaccines. I just got hold of the vaccine through a friend who smuggled it into the country,” Tulfo said.
“Wala akong nakitang conflict of interest dito. Private citizen naman ako e. Ang special envoy to China is just an honorific,” Mon Tulfo said.
“I’m not a government official,” he added.
Tulfo said he talked to President Duterte a week or two ago. He said he was told that Duterte wants to be vaccinated with the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine.
Despite Mon Tulfo’s admission, Nograles could not confirm if the journalist and special envoy to China violated any law and should be held accountable.
“We have different agencies in charge of that. We leave it up to the agencies of government, if it is actionable,” Nograles said.