Dropping probe on PSG jab of 'smuggled' vaccine? Lorenzana says he supports AFP's decision

 By Matthew James B. Santos


Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday claimed that he supported the resolve of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay on dropping the plan of investigating the alleged inoculation of President Rodrigo Duterte's security aides with "smuggled" coronavirus vaccine from China, believing the early vaccination was "justified."

After the AFP chief reportedly canceled the investigation, scheduled to start on January 5, on the Presidential Security Group (PSG) vaccination issue, Lorenzana revealed that he even told Gapay at "the start" to not conduct a probe, as it is also Duterte's wish.

“I support it. It is in compliance with the President’s statement last night,” he said.

For him, the issue, also involving the Philippine military getting vaccinated, was “moot and academic and we will not engage in anymore discussion,” saying only those concerned authorities will have to take action.

“Let the concerned agencies pursue their investigations,” Lorenzana furthered.

Admitting that the used Sinopharm vaccines were "smuggled," and was unapproved as the Philippines has yet to procure coronavirus vaccines, the Defense Secretary later stated that the vaccination showed that PSG's only intent was to protect the president from infections.

PSG commander Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III earlier stated that his unit members were inoculated with the vaccine in September and October, not telling the manufacturer and the source.

Recently in a Davao meeting, Duterte barred his security to wipe their hands off on sharing information on the administering of unregistered COVID-19 vaccine.

"I would just ask the PSG to just shut up, do not answer. Invoke the right against self-incrimination. Do not force my soldiers to testify against their will," Duterte warned Congress.

Furthermore, AFP spokesperson let out the same insight, speaking in Filipino, saying the president did not want an investigation and that it was directed at Congress or to the Senate’s plan to summon the PSG commander in relation to the inquiry on the government’s vaccination plan.

“We should be able to read in (sic) between the lines...In the military, we call that commander’s intent", Arevalo said.

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