House asked to already start probe of ‘VIP vaccinations’ following Tulfo admission
MANILA, Philippines—The House of Representatives was told to start its investigation on “VIP vaccinations” involving government officials using coronavirus vaccines that have not been registered and authorized for use, members of the chamber’s Makabayan bloc said.
Bayan Muna Representatives Carlos Zarate and Ferdinand Gaite made the call on Wednesday (Feb. 24) after Ramon Tulfo, columnist and special envoy to China, admitted he got injected with a vaccine made by Sinopharm, a company owned by the Chinese government, in October 2020.
In a statement, Zarate said the House should start the investigation immediately “as it appears that is is not only the Presidential Security Group (PSG) that has undergone VIP vaccinations but other government officials as well using smuggled vaccines based on Mon Tulfo’s confession.”
“VIP testing and vaccination will not help in gaining confidence of our people in the program and it also undermines” the Department of Health’s list of priorities for inoculation, the statement added.
The Makabayan bloc earlier filed a resolution seeking an investigation on the “VIP vaccinations” of government officials.
Zarate said the resolution has yet to be scheduled for hearing.
“Investigating this anomaly would also put to rest rumors that even Cabinet members and members of Congress were also among those already inoculated along with Mon Tulfo,” Zarate said.
Gaite said the illegal inoculation should disqualify Tulfo from distribution of the Sinopharm vaccines.
In his admission, Tulfo said he applied for permit to be a local distributor of Sinopharm’s vaccine.
“Tulfo’s illegal act of self-inoculation and use of smuggled vaccines should be grounds to deny him license for future distribution of Sinopharm vaccines,” Gaite said in a statement.
“Until now, the public has yet to get vaccinated, but Duterte’s men continue to bugle vaccines. Shameless. They are doing something wrong yet they are boasting about it,” Gaite said.
He said many health workers are still waiting to be vaccinated and “meanwhile Duterte’s men are smuggling vaccines left and right and are being secretly vaccinated.”
“This should be investigated and someone has to be held accountable,” said Gaite.
In an interview early on Wednesday (Feb. 23), Tulfo said he was willing to give up his diplomatic post to become a local distributor of Sinopharm vaccines.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it will investigate the vaccination of Tulfo using a smuggled vaccine.
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