PSG to cooperate with FDA, NBI in probe of unauthorized vaccines — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Security Group (PSG) will likely participate in the investigations of agencies in the executive branch on its supposed use of unauthorized COVID-19 vaccines, Malacañang said Tuesday, noting that President Rodrigo Duterte only barred the presidential guards from attending congressional inquiries.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have separately announced that they would look into the reported use of unregistered COVID-19 vaccines.
But the AFP called off its investigation after Duterte prohibited the PSG personnel from divulging details about the issue before Congress.
“The President invokes executive privilege, which is in the Constitution, in prohibiting PSG in appearing sa Senado. Pero marami pa pong imbestigasyon diyan—(may) NBI, FDA, AFP [But there are a lot of investigations, there are NBI, FDA, AFP],” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised press briefing.
“Iyong mga hearings ng ehekutibo [The hearing of the executive] may continue and of course we expect the PSG to appear and cooperate,” he added.
Asked if Duterte will ask PSG to cooperate from the NBI and FDA probes, Roque said: “He does not have to. We all belong to the executive branch of government…I think they will (cooperate) because there is no order from the President not to participate.”
The PSG, the President’s close-in security detail, has been under hot water over its alleged use of unregistered Chinese COVID-19 vaccines to a number of its personnel. The FDA has yet to approve a COVID-19 vaccine for use, making the importation and distribution of a vaccine illegal.
But in his regular pandemic speech on Monday night, Duterte ordered the PSG not to attend legislative summons and stay mum about the issue.
Duterte said the PSG inoculated themselves for “self-preservation” and he was ready to defend them.
This is after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon earlier said PSG’s commander Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante should be summoned in the Senate inquiry on the government’s vaccination plan.
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