MANILA - Individuals selling COVID-19 vaccination slots will face charges and even jail time, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Benhur Abalos said Wednesday.
"They could just talk with anyone making the schedule and if that person is part of this, it could be possible. That’s why we’re looking into this, we’re going to arrest this person. There’s one thing I will promise you: I promise you that these persons will really be charged and go to jail. We’re very serious about this," he told ANC's Headstart.
Authorities are looking into the alleged sale of COVID-19 vaccination slots in Mandaluyong City, where a customer could choose the brand available at a vaccination site.
The MMDA chief, whose wife is the mayor of Mandaluyong City, said he is coordinating with the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the allegation.
One person has so far been identified, he said, adding that the person is not an employee of city hall.
He said while it cannot be said yet if the scheme makes true of its promise to reserve slots for a fee, the ones behind it would be sued.
"If it is really true, we will make sure that all of those involved will really face the full force of the law. They will be charged in court and of course they would be jailed. And if this fellow is just making a story, again he will also be charged in court," he said.
The scheme was reported just as the national government prohibited the early announcement of COVID-19 vaccine brand to prevent mass gathering at vaccination sites.
Some 8 million doses of various COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in the Philippines, with 4,305,575 administered as of May 24. The country hopes to inoculate at least 70 percent of its population within the year to achieve herd immunity.