‘Unconstitutional’: Pimentel slams ‘shame campaign’ vs unvaccinated
MANILA, Philippines — “Listing is shaming.”
So said Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who sees the move of listing the names of individuals still unvaccinated against COVID-19 as a “violation of constitutional rights.”
“Listing is shaming. Listing is pressuring. Bawal ‘yan [That’s not allowed]. Violation of constitutional rights,” he said in a message to reporters on Thursday.
Further, Pimentel wondered whether the names of individuals who usually stay indoors but remain unvaccinated would also be listed down.
“Pati pa ba yung ‘homebody’ na hindi bakunado laban sa COVID-19 ay hahanapin pa at ililista para lang maramdaman niya na wanted siya at para bagang meron siya batas na nilabag?” he asked.
(Will people who are considered a ‘homebody’ and have yet to be vaccinated be hunted and listed down like he is wanted for a crime?)
“Homebody na nga at hindi na nga lumalabas ng bahay, bakit pa kailangan hanapin at ilista na parang kriminal?” he added.
(They’re already a homebody, they do not go outside, why would they need to be listed down like criminals?)
Pimentel posed these questions when sought for comment on the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) order for barangays to identify and submit a list of unvaccinated residents.
However, Pimentel believes that the unvaccinated should not be forced to get the jab.
“To lessen friction in our society caused by the issue of Covid-19 vaccination, ang dapat kasi na panawagan ng [government] ay magpabakuna para proteksyonan ang sarili,” he said.
(To lessen friction in our society caused by the issue of Covid-19 vaccination, the call should be for the public to get vaccinated for their own protection.)
“Let us therefore promote the ‘vaccination of the willing!’ Yun gusto magpabakuna, bakunahan na kasi sigurado namang meron supply [Those who want to get vaccinated, should be vaccinated because there is enough supply],” he added.
“Dapat walang pilitan. Yung ayaw magpabakuna dahil sa medical or religious reason o dahil wala lang talagang bilib sa mga bagong COVID-19 vaccines na under experimental (emergency) use authorization lang din naman, huwag pilitin na maniwala sa COVID-19 vaccines,” the senator also said.
(No one should be forced. Those who don’t want to get vaccinated for medical or religious reasons or because they don’t believe in the COVID-19 vaccines that are under experimental use authorization, we should not force them.)
Pimentel also said that there is no law in the country mandating COVID-19 vaccination.
“Kung meron man mapasa [ng] batas na ganito, ito ay unconstitutional sa palagay ko. Yang mga hakbang na ang gustong epekto ay mapilitan ang mga hindi bakunado na magpabakuna ay kwestiyonable at unconstitutional,” he added.
(If there is a move to pass such a law, I think this will be unconstitutional. Actions which in effect force those who do not want to get a vaccine are questionable and unconstitutional.)
Aside from the DILG order, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) also directed the enforcement of a “no vaccination, no ride” policy in public transportation.