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Palace, Senators clash on vaccine

Vicente Sotto III
Senate President Vicente 'Tito' Sotto

SENATE President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto yesterday said he is convinced that President Rodrigo Duterte was being given the wrong information on the Senate’s hearing on the vaccination program of the government.

This was after the President scorned senators who had called on the government to prioritize buying COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech after reports that some old and highly frail people in Norway died after receiving the shots.

“You senators want Pfizer? In Norway, 25 persons died after receiving Pfizer vaccination. Do you want it? We’ll order for you,” Duterte said during his briefing last Monday night.

Sotto declined the President’s offer and stressed that they will continue their Committee of the Whole hearing on Friday.

“To his offer, thanks but no thanks. We will convene with our Comm hearing whatever,” Sotto said.

Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson said he doesn’t know any senator who has expressed preference for the Pfizer vaccine or any brand for that matter.

“What we are doing in the Senate is an exercise of our oversight over the appropriations laws that we passed particularly on the purchase of the vaccines. There are no personal or political agenda involved in our inquiry as insinuated by Sec Galvez earlier,” Lacson explained.

“I don’t think the public will favor the idea of government not disclosing their actions re road map of the vaccination program,” he further said.

Senator Joel Villanueva also explained that what they are all aiming for is to ensure transparency in the procurement of vaccines against COVID19.

“Tuwing pinupulido po natin ang plano sa national vaccination program, ibig sabihin tinutulungan natin ang ehekutibo at hindi nakikipagkumpetensya. Katulong po tayo, at hindi karibal. Kapag nai-tama natin ang mga nakikita nating mali sa plano ngayon, taumbayan po ang panalo dito,” he said.

“Ito po ang tanging layunin ng pagdinig ng Senado sa national vaccination program. Simple lamang po ang magiging panuntunan dapat sa pagbili ng bakuna. 3M. Mabisa, Mura o abot-kaya, at Makakarating agad,” he added.

Publication Source :    People's Journal
Marlon Purificacion
Journalist At Large