By Gwyneth Morales

PSG Chief Jesus Durante (PHOTO: Daily Tribune)

The Presidential Security Group (PSG) admitted Monday that they have been inoculated against COVID-19 to keep President Rodrigo Duterte 'safe' despite having no approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This was after Duterte claimed in their meeting with Cabinet officials on Saturday that some of the military officers have already received the vaccine.

"We did it not for personal agenda but on a greater pursuit that is even way beyond our mission of protecting our President," PSG commander General Jesus Durante said.

"As the unit primarily tasked to protect and secure the highest official of the land, the PSG will have to ensure that the President is safe from all threats, including COVID-19," he added.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also confirmed some of its members were already vaccinated.

“Per our inquiry, members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) were the first ones from the AFP who were vaccinated owing to the nature of their mission and function," AFP spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.

Even AFP chief Cirilito Sobehano was aware of the said reports, confirming it over a radio intevriew.

"I know po, personally I know na meron nang nabakunahan sa hanay po ng Armed Forces," he said.

At first, Arevalo denied the accusations of alleged immunization and said the army is "not aware" of such inoculation.

"We do not have an AFP Leadership-sanctioned vaccination," he noted, contradicting the Army chief's statement.

However, the AFP spokesperson rectified his statement an hour later.

Duterte earlier said he wants the police and military to be among the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

"Gusto ko mauna sila because I do not want a sickly armed forces and a sickly police. The reason why is that they have to be in good health all the time because they are responsible for the law and order of this country," Duterte said.

Over a million people in the world have already administered the Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use.

However, the clinical trials for this vaccine in Peru were temporarily suspended after neurological problems were detected in one of the test volunteers, which could correspond to Guillain-Barre syndrome.