MANILA — Executive bodies have the discretion on whether or not to pursue their investigation on the Presidential Security Group's use of unauthorized vaccine shots against COVID-19, President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman said on Tuesday.
Duterte on Monday had instructed the Presidential Security Group to "shut up" should lawmakers inquire about their vaccination. Hours later, the military dropped its investigation into the PSG inoculation.
The National Bureau of Investigation and the Food and Drug Administration have separate probes into the matter.
“As far sa the other agencies of the executive branch are concerned, that is at the discretion of the investigating agencies,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
“Pakitanong lang po sa NBI, pakitanong lang po sa FDA kung magtutuloy pa sila ng kanilang imbestigasyon,” he told reporters in an online briefing.
(Please ask the NBI, FDA if they will continue their investigation.)
The FDA has not yet approved any COVID-19 vaccine for local use, making the drug's importation, distribution and sale in the country illegal for now.
Duterte, who has commended his security detail for their "loyalty and courage" in having themselves inoculated, said they did it for "self-preservation."
"I am prepared to defend my soldiers. I will not allow them, for all of their good intention, to be brutalized in the hearing," Duterte said.
Roque said the military detail broke no laws.
"The president is saluting the PSG for what they did. They risked their lives to protect our president," Roque told a media briefing.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana last week called the PSG's move "justified" even as he said the vaccines they took as far back as September, without his knowledge, had been smuggled into the Philippines.
- With a report from Reuters
Watch more in iWantTFC Video courtesy of PTV