Duterte names mayors who jumped COVID-19 vaccination line

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 24 2021 10:56 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday named the local government officials who reportedly got inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine despite not being part of the government's priority list.

In his second public address this week, Duterte named nine mayors so far who jumped the COVID-19 vaccine line.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government earlier issued issued show-cause orders to 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.

Duterte also said Mayors Elenito Peña of Minglanilla, Cebu, and three Bohol mayors - Victoriano Torres III of Alicia town, Virgilio Mendez of San Miguel town and Arturo Piollo II of Lila town - have also been inoculated.

"Ang sabi nila, ang rason nila, I think universal excuse, na para hindi matakot 'yung mga constituents. Ako, medyo gray area 'yan na dapat talaga una 'yung mga...whether or not they jumped the COVID-19 line of vaccination, would require a certain amount of legal study," Duterte said.

(They said, their reason, I think, the universal excuse is so that their constituents won't get scared of the vaccine. For me, there's a gray area there...whether or not they jumped the COVID-19 line of vaccination, would require a certain amount of legal study.)

"Ako ito, itong mga opisyal, if the purpose is really to show the constituency that it is safe, hindi ko maano, there is a gray area there," he added.

(These officials, for me, if their purpose is really to show the constituency that it is safe, I cannot...there is a gray area there.)

Prior to naming the local chief executives who already got inoculated, Duterte reiterated the need to follow the COVID-19 vaccination priority list, as is mandated by the World Health Organization and the COVAX Facility.

"Unang una, may listahan ang WHO noong parang kolatilya na magbigay kami then they give us a list of the persons who should be given the vaccine first, first jab. Grupo-grupo na tao," he said.

(First of all, WHO has a list, it's like a collateral that they will give us vaccines then they gave us a list of the person who should be given the vaccine first, first jab.)

"As I was discussing it, I gave a list of priority in the ladder, kung sino ang mauna. But apparently, this was not complied strictly. Eh ang mahirap nito, ang nagbigay, 'yung WHO, COVAX, eh donated 'yan, tinanggap natin 'yan, knowing fully well that we have to honor the conditions attched thereto," Duterte added.

(As I was discussing it, I gave a list of priority in the ladder, who should be prioritized. But apparently, this was not complied strictly. But the problem is, those who donated, WHO and the COVAX Facility, those are donated and we accepted it knowing fully well that we have to honor the conditions attached thereto.)

Duterte also mentioned a son of an actor who apparently also got inoculated despite not being on the vaccination priority list.

Though he did not specifically mentioned the name of the actor's son, Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez earlier admitted that actor Mark Anthony Fernandez has already been vaccinated.

According to Olivarez, Fernandez has "comorbidities" that made him eligible to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination next to medical frontliners and senior citizens.

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. 

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