By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Senator Bong Go

Malacañang said Thursday that President Rodrigo Duterte can still receive his second shot of coronavirus vaccine developed by China-based Sinopharm despite an order to recall the donated doses.

"Hindi ibabalik 'yong pang-second dose ni Presidente para matapos niya ang second dose," Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online briefing.

“Tatapusin po natin yung second dose,” Roque added.

In his national address on Wednesday night, Duterte apologized to the public after being criticized for choosing to get vaccinated with a vaccine that has yet to be cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“We are sorry. You are right, we are wrong,” he said.

“Ganito ho ‘yan, well, we are sorry that we committed the things that you are criticizing us for. We accept responsibility,” he added.

But, Duterte insisted on getting inoculated with a vaccine he chosen because “this is my life.”

The Chief Executive added he did not violate Philippine laws when he received the vaccine amid a lack of approval from the regulators.

“Alam ko naman compassionate use so there was this legal point that made it possible for me to [get it],” he said.

It was February this year when the FDA granted a compassionate use permit for the 10,000 Sinopharm doses allotted for the Presidential Security Group (PSG), after FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said the regulating agency can issue compassionate use to some groups who are working in critical missions amid the COVID-19 health emergency.

In December last year, the PSG became controversial after Duterte said that some of his security detail have inoculated with the vaccines even without an emergency use approval. Days after the President’s pronouncement, PSG Commander Brigadier General Jesus Durante III admitted that some of the security troops got vaccinated and told them to “shut up” with the matter.