Palace says up to Ombudsman to probe special envoy Tulfo over Sinopharm issue
Malacanang said on Wednesday it is up to the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate President Rodrigo Duterte's special envoy to China Ramon Tulfo who allegedly admitted in his newspaper column he was inoculated with the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine.
"We have no opinion whatsoever. We leave that to the Ombudsman," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised press briefing when asked of the possible conflict of interest in Tulfo's application to be the local distributor of Sinopharm.
Roque also said he has to check if Tulfo was still Duterte's special envoy since such designation was on a six-month basis, subject to possible reappointment.
"I'm not sure if Mon Tulfo's (appointment) was renewed," he said.
Roque said he also does not understand the big deal about Tulfo's article regarding his inoculation of Sinopharm drug last October and his application to be the distributor of the vaccine.
"That’s an account of Mon Tulfo and if you want verification please contact Mon Tulfo because I cannot answer on his behalf," he added.
Tulfo, in his column in the Manila Times recently, said he applied to be one of the distributors of Sinopharm vaccine in the country.
He also said Duterte expressed willingness to be inoculated but was advised not to do it.
The Philippine Food and Drug Administration has yet to grant emergency use authorization to Sinopharm's vaccine.
Late last year, the leadership of the Presidential Security Group also admitted that some of Duterte's security personnel were injected with smuggled Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in September and October last year. Celerina Monte/DMS