‘No cover-up’: Duterte says he didn’t know about PSG vaccination
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday that he was not aware of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) being vaccinated against COVID-19 as he denied that there was a “cover-up” of the issue.
“I don’t know really if they were injected with the vaccine. What brand, I don’t know. Do not presume, as they said, that there’s a cover-up,” he said, speaking partly in Filipino, in his pre-recorded weekly briefing on the pandemic.
With a curse, he added, “I’m not a fool to play around. If I say that I will allow them, I will allow them. But I did not because they had it on their own.”
If he wanted to order that all military personnel be vaccinated against COVID-19, Duterte said nothing could stop him from doing so.
“If I want to say that it’s for emergency purposes, you give the vaccines, there’s no story needed there. There’s nothing for me to cover… Your minds are weak. What would stop me from saying, okay, all of you get an injection — all the armed forces?” Duterte said.
Previously, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon hinted of a “cover-up” in the use of unauthorized vaccines.
The PSG chief, Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III, said the members of the President’s close-in security detail were vaccinated against COVID-19 as early as September without Duterte’s authorization.
Durante also admitted that the PSG requested for the vaccines, but refused to disclose their “source.”
Separate investigations into the issue have been launched by the Food and Drug Administration, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
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