MANILA— The provincial government of Northern Samar is investigating a report that 15 doses of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine were allegedly transferred from a government hospital to the house of a still unnamed politician.
Northern Samar Gov. Edwin Ongchuan, in an interview with Teleradyo, said there would be "no whitewash" in the investigation as the provincial board was set to conduct a second hearing next week.
"Nitong Monday, tutukuyin kung sino ang naglabas at kung saan napunta 'yung mga nawawalang 15 vials ng Sinovac," he said.
(This Monday, we will find out who took out [the vaccines] and where are the missing 15 vials of Sinovac.)
He later added, "Rest assured na wala itong whitewash. Hindi ako papayag na pagtatakpan ito ng kahit sino."
(Rest assured there will be no whitewash. I will not allow this will be covered up by anyone.)
According to testimonies of witnesses during the first hearing on July 8, the Sinovac vaccines were taken out from the Northern Samar Provincial Hospital following a vaccination schedule in June, Ongchuan said.
A female doctor, who is a provincial health officer, was the last person seen with the anti-virus jabs.
The vaccines were allegedly brought to a politician's house in Catarman where members of the household, including security, received the shots.
"Hinintay ni doktora na gawin 'yun ng after office hours, mga past 5 p.m. So, medyo planado ang mga pangyayari," Ongchuan said.
(The doctor did it after office hours, past 5 p.m. So, it was somewhat planned.)
Ongchuan has issued an executive order creating an investigation committee to conduct a parallel probe over the incident.
Asked who is the "influential" politician, he begged off from commenting until witnesses make an official statement. The female doctor will also be invited in the next hearing.
He assured the public neither him, the vice governor or the mayor of Catarman was involved.
"Nagpabakuna na kami ni Vice Gov sa NSPH... Ang mayor ng Catarman nagpabakuna sa RHU (rural health unit) nila," he said.
(Me and the vice governor were vaccinated at the NSPH (Northern Samar Provincial Hospital)... The mayor of Catarman was vaccinated at the RHU.)