No gov’t official has access to COVID-19 funds, says Galvez
MANILA, Philippines — National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 chief and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Saturday maintained that no government official has access to funds to be spent for COVID-19 vaccines.
This, after Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan raised suspicion that the prospect of kickbacks might have motivated government officials not to submit the document required US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to secure 10 million dozes of its COVID-19 vaccine for the Philippines.
“Hindi po talaga pu-pwede magkaroon ng kickback dahil ang pondo pong gagamitin natin ay ADB (Asian Development Bank) at tsaka po sa World Bank,” he said during the Laging Handa online press briefing.
(There is no room for kickback because the fund to be used will be from the ADB and World Bank.)
“Wala po sa Cabinet members, wala pong government officials ang may access nito except Secretary of Finance [Carlos Dominguez III],” he added.
(No Cabinet members nor government officials have access to this except the secretary of Finance.)
Galvez further vouched for Dominguez’s integrity, as well as that of Finance Usec. Mark Joven, who he says oversees the agreements under head of terms, as well as supply agreement on the procurement COVID-19 vaccines.
“So yung mga ibang senador na nagsasabi na they smell kickback ay sinagot ko na po sila personally, sabi ko sa kanila huwag kayong mang-husga kasi hindi niyo nakikita na ang integrity ng ADB, ang integrity ng World Bank at tsaka integrity ng DOF natin at integrity namin ang nakasalalay dito,” Galvez then warned.
(So to the senators who said they smell kickback, I already told them off personally: Do not judge because you do not see the integrity of the ADB, the integrity of the World Bank, and of the DOF, and our integrity is on the line as well.)
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. first bared that “someone dropped the ball” on the deal with Pfizer to procure the vaccines for Filipinos.
But Health Secretary Francisco Duque later said that there was no such thing as “dropping the ball,” saying that negotiations with Pfizer regarding its vaccines were still ongoing.
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