Palace on Robredo's call for transparency: Nothing to hide regarding PSG vaccination vs COVID-19
Malacanang insisted on Monday there was nothing to hide regarding the vaccination against coronavirus disease of some of President Rodrigo Duterte's security personnel after Vice President Leni Robredo called for transparency.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte lauded the members of the Presidential Security Group for risking their lives for his sake by having themselves vaccinated of the Chinese vaccine despite no approval yet from the Food and Drug Administration.
Asked for the details as to who provided the vaccines and the process in acquiring them since Duterte apparently did not see anything wrong with it, Roque said, "It has nothing to do with that. If they (PSG) want to tell it, they will tell it. But what is important is, they are protecting the President."
"Let us stop this hullabaloo regarding that, it's not you who have been injected to protect the President. Why are you displeased (with the PSG members) who have risked their health?" he said in a televised press briefing.
The use of COVID-19 vaccines from China drew criticisms from some quarters, including Robredo, since the FDA has not approved any vaccine yet against the virus in the country.
But as early as October, PSG chief Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III has admitted that some of his men have received the vaccine.
He said they voluntarily agreed to be inoculated to protect Duterte.
Robredo and some lawmakers have said the PSG vaccination should be investigated for using smuggled Chinese COVID-19 vaccines.
Roque said the PSG would face the investigation to be conducted.
"We are not hiding anything VP Leni Robredo. That's why the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), the DOJ (Department of Justice) and the FDA are conducting an investigation. The PSG is not afraid if they will be punished," he said.
He told Duterte's critics to stop politicking.
But asked if Duterte would allow Durante to attend the investigation to be called by the Senate over the matter, Roque said, "I don't know, but I can't understand why the Senate will meddle into a co-equal branch of government, the security of the President. The President is not interfering on the security of the Senate."
He urged the Senate to show "mutual respect for co-equal branches of government." Celerina Monte/DMS