JOURNALIST Ramon Tulfo could no longer be slapped with administrative charges following his admission of being inoculated with a smuggled COVID-19 vaccine sometime in October last year, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
In a press briefing, Roque clarified that Tulfo is no longer a special ambassador of the Philippines to China, and as such is no longer covered by the country’s anti-graft laws anymore.
“I have no personal knowledge tungkol sa mga bagay na sinasabi ni Mon Tulfo. So I really cannot comment on something I don’t know anything about. Pero ang malinaw, si Mon Tulfo na ang naglinaw, hindi na siya special envoy to China, and he is no longer covered by anti-graft laws of the country,” Roque said.
Reiterating his claim that he is no longer an special envoy, Tulfo said that he had to test the China-made vaccine first to determine whether or not it is effective and safe before he goes further in his bid to become the Philippine distributor of the Sinopharm vaccines from China.
Roque also said that Tulfo may choose not to participate in the investigations regarding the smuggling of vaccines.
“As far as Mon Tulfo is concerned, he clarified he is no longer a special envoy to China, he is a private citizen so he can do as he pleases. And the President is not in a position to compel him to do anything. The President does not have subpoena powers,” he said.
“The President is a president, not a policeman, not an NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) agent. We leave that to the police and the NBI,” he added.
The Food and Drug Administration and the NBI are investigating the issue on the Sinopharm vaccination.
“The NBI has an ongoing investigation on the alleged importation, entry, sale, and administration of unregistered COVID-19 vaccines in the underground market. I will leave it to the NBI to determine if it’s necessary or relevant to invite Ramon Tulfo to shed light on the matter,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.