MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday denied accusations that he covered up the smuggling of COVID-19 vaccine used to inoculate the members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).
According to Duterte, he does not know the full details of the vaccination program for the PSG, since they did everything on their own.
"Do not presume na sinasabi, kino-cover up. P*t*ng*n* kayo, hindi ako g*g* na maglaro," he said during his weekly public address.
(Do not presume na sinasabi, kino-cover up. S*n of a b*tch, I am not playing here.)
"If I say that I allow them, I will allow them. But I did not because they had it on their own," Duterte added.
Duterte also said he is ready to defend the PSG.
"I am prepared to defend my soldiers. I will not allow them for all of their good intentions, to be brutalized in hearing," he said.
Earlier in his public address, Duterte also advised members of the PSG to withhold information about the vaccination incident.
He even asked lawmakers not to force the PSG to talk about the vaccines.
Citing national security, PSG commander Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III admitted last week that members of the president's security group has already been inoculated.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año also said some soldiers and PSG members were inoculated with the vaccine candidate of Chinese drugmaker Sinopharm, adding they were among the first to get the vaccine because they are frontliners.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana later said authorities are investigating how the vaccines got past border inspection.
While the use of vaccines was unauthorized, Lorenzana believed the early inoculation of members of the PSG was "justified".