MANILA - Columnist and Special envoy to China Mon Tulfo on Wednesday denied committing wrongdoing in getting COVID-19 shots from China's Sinopharm that he himself said was smuggled into the country.
Tulfo, in a column over the weekend, said he got himself inoculated to prove the vaccine's efficacy as he had applied as its distributor in the Philippines.
The special envoy to Beijing said he did not approach any Chinese official, only a local firm that also applied as a distributor of the Sinopharm vaccine.
"I approached them as a private citizen not as a government official, I never used my position as special envoy to China in dealing with the private company here. As far as I’m concerned I did not commit any wrongdoing in having myself vaccinated," he told ANC's Dateline Philippines.
"Yes. I don’t see anything wrong with it because I was doing it as a private citizen, not a government official," he added when asked if the vaccine was smuggled.
Tulfo said he got inoculated along with "other government officials" and knew that members of the Presidential Security Group received the jab before him.
He added that he blames the Food and Drug Administration and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez for the delay in the arrival of vaccines in the country and for prohibiting President Rodrigo Duterte from taking the jab.
"I really don’t find anything irregular about the President asking for vaccination because his request could’ve gone through the FDA," he said.
"I would blame the FDA as well as our vaccine czar who did not approve of the President's request to be vaccinated. The President wanted Sinopharm, his preference is Sinopharm but Galvez and FDA would not have any of it."
The FDA has said it would investigate Tulfo's admission of use of a smuggled COVID-19 vaccine.
"Kaya nga po iniimbestigahan siya, dahil talaga nga pong hindi naman po maganda na nalalaman natin na may mga ganitong nagpapabakuna na hindi dumadaan sa tamang proseso," FDA director general Eric Domingo said a public briefing.
(We are investigating this because it is not good that we learn that there are vaccinations that do not go through the right process. )