DILG to issue show cause order vs Parañaque mayor over actor's COVID-19 vaccination

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 25 2021 01:38 PM | Updated as of Mar 25 2021 02:27 PM

Video courtesy of PTV

MANILA — The Department of the Interior and Local Government said Thursday it would ask Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez to explain why actor Mark Anthony Fernandez was vaccinated against COVID-19, even though limited jabs are reserved for health workers. 

Fernandez does not belong to the 5 priority groups that are on top of the vaccination priority list, said Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III. 

Officials earlier said priority groups include health workers, the elderly, people with comorbidities, frontline workers, and indigents. President Rodrigo Duterte spoke on the matter in a public address Wednesday night, ordering relevant agencies to take action. 

Densing said he also received information that a Parañaque city councilor and an employee of the justice department also skipped the vaccination line. 

"Ipapalabas na namin hopefully by this afternoon ang show cause order kay Mayor Edwin Olivarez para magpaliwanag siya," Densing said in a televised public briefing. 

"Command responsibility niya po ang pagsisigurado na ang ating vaccination plan ay nasunod sa kaniyang lokal na gobyerno," he added. 

(We will issue, hopefully this afternoon, the show cause order for Mayor Edwin Olivarez for him to explain. It is his command responsibility to ensure that the vaccination plan is followed in his local government.)
 
The Philippines has received delivery of 1,525,600 COVID-19 shots, which are not even enough for the country's 1.7 million health workers who are on top of the vaccine priority list. 

But Olivarez said in an earlier interview that Fernandez was eligible as he has depression and hypertension. Fernandez, in an interview with an entertainment news site, said he was not taking any maintenance medicine, just multivitamins and Vitamin C. 

The DILG earlier served show cause orders to at least 5 mayors who allegedly took COVID-19 shots. 

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The interior department is verifying reports that 2 other mayors were inoculated. They may also receive show cause orders. 

These local chief executives are given 3 days to respond to the show cause orders. 

Mayors who jumped the vaccination line will get the second vaccine shot, Densing said. 

"Pero 'di pa rin sila makakawala sa potential administrative case if ever hindi po justified ang kanilang pagbabakuna ahead of others," he said. 

(But they will not escape potential administrative case if ever their vaccination ahead of others is not justified.)

They may face a 3-day suspension or removal from office, said Densing. 

The Philippines needs to follow the vaccination priority that the World Health Organization set if the country wants to remain a priority of vaccine-sharing COVAX Facility.