MANILA - Everyone involved in the illegal vaccination of members of the Presidential Security Group against COVID-19 is liable for violating several of the country's laws, a senator said Monday.
PSG chief Jesus Durante earlier said a "handful" of his personnel were inoculated with "donated" vaccine in September despite the fact that the country has yet to approve the use of any vaccine candidate.
Sen. Richard Gordon, however, said the PSG could have sought emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.
"'Di magandang halimbawa yan, unang-una sila ang Presidential Security at meron tayong Cabinet members ata, siguro di nila alam ang batas natisod sila. 'Pag di mo alam ang batas hindi depensa yun eh. Mere violation yan, di mo pwedeng sabihin di mo sinasadya. Talagang ginawa mo yan, automatic tepok ka," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(It's not a good example. First of all they're the Presidential Security and there were also Cabinet members reportedly vaccinated. They probably didn't know the law but it's not a reason. It's mere violation, you can't say you didn't mean it. You did it and you will pay for it.)
"Kung ganyan ang gagawin ng lahat ng ating gobyerno, some are more equal than other, some are more illegal than others."
(If everyone in government will do it, some are more equal than other, some are more illegal than others.)
Chinese firm Sinopharm, whose vaccine candidate was said to have been used by the PSG, may also face penalty if it was involved in the process, Gordon said.
"Lahat yan may pananagutan pati Sinopharm. Pag may nalalaman ang Sinopharm at nagpasok sila they can be banned and fined ng gobyerno natin. Pwedeng silang i-ban dahil dumadaan sila nang walang pahintulot," he said.
(Everyone is liable, even Sinopharm. If they knew something and they imported it here they can be banned and fined by our government because they did so without permission.)
"Kung sinuman ang nagbigay niyan liable yan, pati yung naginject, nagpasok, nagbigay ng gamot."
(Whoever gave it is liable, including those who injected it, imported it.)
Aside from violating the Medical Practice Act, the vaccines were also smuggled and violates the FDA Law which prohibits the import, use, and distribution of non-authorized drugs, according to the senator.
"Kaya minsan nakakalambot kasi dapat yung ganyan napaparusahan kaagad. Di naman napaparusahan, sino ba ang gustong magparusa pero ganun talaga. Kung ganyan ang mangyayari lahat ng mayaman pwede nang magimport," Gordon said.
(It's disheartening because this should be punished immediately. No one really wants to give out punishment but that's how it is. If this is tolerated, everyone rich can import their own vaccine supply.)
"Commendable naman ang loyalty nila (PSG) sa Presidente, pero kung loyalty yan dapat pinadaan [sa tamang proseso], sila ang pinakamataas na nagtatanggol sa Presidente, Cabinet members ang iba."
(The PSG's loyalty to the President is commendable but it still should have undergone the right process. They are the highest security of the President, there were also Cabinet members.)
Vice President Leni Robredo said the PSG's inoculation against the coronavirus should be investigated as she urged government to be transparent.
The "rule of law was observed" in the PSG's vaccination, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo insisted as he said the inoculation was the group's "own initiative" and was not government sponsored nor sanctioned.