Duterte confident no kickbacks in purchase of Covid-19 vaccines

Duterte confident no kickbacks in purchase of Covid-19 vaccines

MANILA – The purchase of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines for Filipinos will be free from corruption with vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. in charge, President Rodrigo Duterte assured Monday night.

Duterte said he had full faith and confidence that Galvez will make sure that there won’t be any kickbacks involved in the process of acquiring vaccines.

‘Yang vaccine na ‘yan (That vaccine), it’s worth billions. They said we would need about PHP73 billion to vaccinize the population. ‘Yan teritoryo‘yan ni Gen. Galvez (That’s Gen. Galvez’s territory). I have full faith and confidence na walang kickback-kickback ‘yan wala lahat. Walang makikialam. Siya lang ang kakalap ng vaccine para sa ating mga kababayan (Nobody will interfere. He’ll be the only one importing vaccines for our citizens),” he said in a taped public address.

Last month, Duterte said he wanted Galvez to be the sole person in charge of the purchase of vaccines.

He turned down the idea of having to form a committee in charge of vaccine procurement as it might lead to further delays.

Malacañang earlier said the national government’s vaccination drive against Covid-19 will not be tainted with politics.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President made it clear that all priority groups would be provided with free doses of the potential vaccine, regardless of whether they are part of the opposition or critics.

Meanwhile, Duterte also defended Health Secretary Francisco Duque III against corruption allegations anew, saying he was sure that the latter never received money.

“He has served government faithfully for four administrations. You just do not you know, sabihin mo na, wala man akong nakita na nagtanggap ng pera. Wala talaga (you just say, I didn’t see that he received money. There’s really nothing). Either sa (from) intelligence, sa military, sa police o sa civilian. I have not heard Secretary Duque receiving money,” he said.

Despite calls for Duque’s resignation, Duterte has repeatedly said he will continue to vouch for the integrity of Duque and his other Cabinet members.

Duterte said he would step down as President if anyone could prove that he or any of his Cabinet members stole from government.

“Maraming haka-haka diyan na kaming mga Cabinet members, ako tumatanggap ng pera saan (There are suspicions that my Cabinet members and I received money). Look, I give you this guarantee. Magdala ka lang ng tao at sabihin mo nagbigay siya ng piso sa amin, mag-resign ako bukas. Just one person, one affidavit (Just bring a person and tell him to say that he gave even one peso to us, I’ll resign tomorrow). You just bring him to him or bring him before the public an announcement, and if true, I will tender my resignation as President of this Republic,” he said.

He said as far as he is concerned, his Cabinet members were “all honest” otherwise he would ask them to resign immediately.

Duterte said there is no use of governing a country when people no longer believe in their leaders.

“Kasi kung hindi na maniwala ang tao, wala na (Because if people don’t believe you, that’s the end). You are better off just enjoying your retirement. It’s a lifetime journey of hardship and everything both for the military and the mga civilian dito (here),” he said. (PNA)

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