MANILA (UPDATE) - The Department of the Interior and Local Government has asked five mayors to explain their COVID-19 vaccination at a time when the country prioritizes only health workers.
Among local chief executives issued show-cause orders were Mayor Alfred Romualdez of Tacloban City, Mayor Dibu Tuan of T'boli town in South Cotabato, Mayor Sulpicio Villalobos of Sto. Niño town in South Cotabato, Mayor Noel Rosal of Legazpi City in Albay, and Mayor Abraham Ibba of Bataraza town in Palawan.
The mayors are expected to respond to the show-cause orders within 3 working days, said DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing.
"'Pag nakitaan natin na meron probable cause ifo-forward po natin ito sa Office of the Ombudsman as they have violated the Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act)," he said.
(If we find probable cause, we'll forward it to the Office of the Ombudsman as they have violated the Republic Act 3019.)
"Hahayaan na natin ang Ombudsman kung anong klaseng administrative na parusa ang ipapataw sa kanila."
(We'll let the Ombudsman decide what administrative punishment will be bestowed upon them.)
Romualdez was the first local chief executive to receive a dose of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine, the the Presidential Communications Operations Office said in a now-deleted tweet.
Romualdez also violated health protocols as he did not wear a face mask or face shield during his vaccination, according to Densing.
Medical frontliners should be the only group to get COVID-19 shots for now, Palace spokesman Harry Roque earlier said.
Violations of this rule would impact future deliveries from vaccine-sharing COVAX Facility, which said health workers should be prioritized, he said.
"We regret this incident, but I will refer the matter to the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) dahil kinakailangan po talagang imbestigahan ito," Roque said in a press briefing.
(This needs to be investigated.)