Palace unaware over inoculation of Cabinet officials, senator and envoy

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MALACAÑANG claims to know nothing about the admission of veteran journalist Ramon Tulfo that he has already taken Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine shots, along with Cabinet members and an incumbent senator sometime in October last year.

In a television interview, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said he is not aware or was kept in the dark about the claim of special envoy to China Mon Tulfo who said he, alongside some Cabinet-level officials and a senator, got inoculated with smuggled Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines in October last year.

Tulfo made the admission twice — first in his Manila Times column and the second when interviewed on national television. According to Tulfo, he wanted to test its efficacy and safety on himself before he goes farther on his bid to become a Sinopharm distributor.

“I am not aware of that. Hindi namin napag-usapan sa Cabinet meeting. That is news to me. I really don’t know the details,” Nograles was quoted as saying.

Tulfo, a special envoy to China, warded off any liability, citing that his designation is only “honorific” even as he claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte was aware of such vaccines getting inoculated on them.

“We have different agencies in charge of that [administrative liability]. We leave it up to the agencies of government, if it is actionable,” Nograles said, notwithstanding the need for an emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for it to be legally used in the country.

Duterte, sometime in December last year, revealed that members of the military and the Presidential Security Group (PSG) already got vaccinated with the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine at a time the FDA has yet to issue any EUA.

The president’s revelation was promptly confirmed by no less than the PSG commander himself, Brigadier General Jesus Durante III.

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