Senate to conduct probe on non-disclosure of vaccine procurement contracts

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 5) — The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Monday said it would conduct an investigation on the non -disclosure of vaccine procurement contracts starting Dec. 14.

In a statement, the committee headed by Sen. Francis Tolentino said the investigation would be "into the non-disclosure by and/or refusal of the Department of Health to release the details of the vaccine procurement contracts on the pretext of a supposedly existing non-disclosure agreement (NDA)."

The initial hearing will be at 10 a.m., however no venue has been announced.

In previous Senate hearings, Duterte administration vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said information about the exact price of the shots cannot be disclosed in line with NDAs with suppliers. This was backed by former Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III who said it was the "requirement of the suppliers, and we cannot disclose trade secrets, and included in the trade secrets are the pricing."

RELATED: Senator seeks detailed audit of multibillion-peso COVID vaccine procurement

Last month, former Sen. Franklin Drilon told CNN Philippines' The Source that an NDA in COVID-19 purchase deals cannot be invoked for skipping the audit of public funds for their purchase.

The Commission on Audit said it would exhaust legal process for the DOH to release documents related to COVID-19 vaccine procurement deals.