Lacson says Galvez apologized for ‘politicizing’ remarks on vaccine issue
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday said vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. has apologized to him over a remark he made which “virtually accused” the lawmaker of politicizing the government’s inoculation program.
“I accepted his apology. He promised to be more careful in issuing statements,” Lacson said in a message to reporters.
During last Friday’s Senate hearing into the government’s vaccination plan, Lacson said Galvez, in a virtual meeting on vaccine updates last Jan. 14, “virtually accused” some senators of “demonizing vaccine developers or hurting the ongoing negotiations of our government with vaccine manufacturers and suppliers apparently referring to Sinovac.”
“He (Galvez) specifically mentioned my name as allegedly politicizing the issue,” Lacson said during the hearing.
Galvez made the apology during a meeting with Lacson, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, and contact tracing czar Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong on Wednesday.
But prior to the meeting, Lacson said Galvez, as relayed by Magalong on Tuesday, already wanted to meet with him to personally apologize for his remarks.
“He also promised to brief me and disclose all the details of their vaccine procurement including the prices of the different brands,” Lacson said.
“Then came the instruction of [President Rodrigo Duterte] to Sec. Galvez to brief [Senate President] Sotto. I suggested to them that SP and I just go together, along with [Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa],” said Lacson.
Galvez, during the meeting, was able to clarify “a lot of issues and concerns raised by the senators that have remained unresolved until last night,” according to Lacson.
“We advised him to explain in tomorrow’s hearing the same way that he did last night without violating the terms of the agreement with the vaccine suppliers,” he added.
The Senate has so far conducted two hearings on the nationwide inoculation plan. The chamber is set to hold another one this Friday, Jan. 22.
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