Duterte praises PSG after illegal COVID-19 vaccination; personnel ready to face possible penalties — Palace

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 4)— President Rodrigo Duterte lauded the members of his security group even after taking unauthorized COVID-19 vaccines, his spokesman said on Monday, stressing anew that the personnel only wanted to ensure the chief executive’s protection from the virus.

Ang mensahe po nila ay malinaw: Magpapakamatay po sila para sa presidente, para bigyan siya ng proteksyon,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in his online media briefing.

Nagbibigay-pugay po ang presidente sa ginawa ng PSG [Presidential Security Group]," Roque added. "Isinugal po nila ang kanilang buhay para bigyan ng proteksyon. Maraming salamat sa inyong katapatan, sa inyong katapangan.

[Translation: Their message is clear: They are ready to die for the President, just to give him protection. The President is praising them for this. They risked their lives just to give him protection. Thank you very much for your service, for your bravery.]

Various government agencies including the Food and Drug Administration and Bureau of Customs said they will investigate the entry of the “smuggled,” unregistered coronavirus vaccines in the country, following the revelation that members of the PSG took some shots sans regulatory approval.

The Senate is also set to launch a probe next week, with Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon calling on the leadership of the PSG to attend the hearing and shed light on the issue.

READ: Robredo to gov't: No more cover-ups, be accountable for unauthorized vaccination

Roque assured the PSG would be ready to answer allegations and face possible penalties over the activity.

Haharap ba sila sa mga imbestigasyon? Syempre po. Wala po tayong tinatago,” Roque pointed out. “Wala pong takot ang ating mga PSG kung papatawan sila ng parusa.”

“If there’s whatever accountability issue, sasagutin po ‘yan ng PSG. Kung may kaso, let the cases be filed and let them proceed,” he stressed.

[Translation: Will they face investigation? Of course. We’re not hiding anything. Our PSG are not scared of penalties. If there’s whatever accountability issue, the PSG will answer that. If there would be cases, let the cases be filed and let them proceed.]

Meanwhile, Roque disclosed that the Palace has not yet received information regarding the reported vaccination of some Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators or POGO workers in the country.