UNLESS stopped, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will proceed with the investigation into the alleged unauthorized vaccination of President Rodrigo Duterte’s security details with unregistered COVID-19 vaccine.
This even as Duterte told the Presidential Security Group (PSG) personnel who received anti-coronavirus shot Sinopharm to ignore congressional summons.
” Yes, tuloy ang NBI investigation dahil meron kaming order galing kay Secretary (Menardo) Guevarra na natanggap ng NBI.. unless withdrawn,” NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin said, adding Mr. Duterte’s order was directed against a possible congressional hearing.
“Sa aking pakiwari, yung pagsabi ng mahal na Pangulo patungkol naman sa bill ng Kongreso,” Lavin, the concurrent NBI spokesperson, said.
Duterte on Monday, January 4, said he would order PSG to either not attend any congressional hearing on the controversy or stay mum during such a hearing.
“Do not tinker with the PSG. Do not force my hand to meddle into this affair. Maybe I am not so keen allowing Durante (PSG chief Brigadier General Jesus Durante III) and the rest of the PSG to testify,” he said.
Asked if the PSG personnel involved in the unauthorized inoculation refused to cooperate with the NBI, Lavin said the bureau would still proceed with the probe using “independent evidence. ”
“Kung hindi naman pumayag or makipag-cooperate ay patuloy naman ang imbestigasyon at we will build up the case on independent evidence, ” Lavin said.
He disclosed that the NBI would start “reaching out” to the PSG thru the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“Yesterday (Monday, January 4), upon receipt of the Department Order, our agents led by Atty. (Emeterio) Dongallo of the Special Action Unit already sent a communication to the Food and Drugs Administration requesting for a certification on whether there had already been vaccines which has been registered or whether there are vaccines submitted for registration and on what stage already are these vaccines on the registration process,” Lavin said.
PSG chief Jesus Durante admitted that the PSG “vaccinated themselves” as early as September.
No COVID-19 vaccine has passed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as of date.
The Department of Health and the FDA were not consulted over the vaccination of Duterte’s security detail and some Cabinet members.
“It started actually September and the last batch October…All of the personnel inoculated so far are doing good. No side effects whatsoever,” Durante said.
He also said the President was not informed about the inoculations until after the PSG men were vaccinated.
“We didn’t ask permission. We just informed him about it after all the close-in personnel were vaccinated. He was surprised,” he added.
Customs officials suspect the vaccines passed through the airport because it requires cold storage.