MANILA – Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Friday said there is nothing wrong with President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent remark to jail Filipinos who refuse to get vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
This, after youth group Juan Health PH said Duterte’s remarks against vaccine decliners “do not promote health nor social responsibility”.
Panelo, during his commentary show Counterpoint, reiterated the Chief Executive has a legal basis to order the arrest of anyone who refuses to receive Covid-19 vaccines.
“Hindi totoo ‘yung sinasabi ng mga iba diyan na mali ang ginawa ni Presidente. Unang-una, hindi illegal ‘yung sinasabi niyang ipaaresto kayo (It’s not true that the President’s action is wrong. First and foremost, it’s not illegal for him to order the arrest),” he said.
In a taped public address delivered on June 21, Duterte appealed to Filipinos not to “force his arm” by refusing to get Covid-19 jabs.
Juan Health PH, in a statement issued Monday, said instilling knowledge, “not fear,” would convince people to get inoculated with Covid-19 vaccines.
It added that a public health crisis needs the support of a “progress-oriented” leader, rather than a “violence-driven” one.
Panelo emphasized the President never failed to remind Filipinos to receive the vaccine shots to protect themselves against the coronavirus.
“Ang problema naman dito sa mga batang ito, eh kayo, gumagaya kayo sa mga oposisyon. Hindi kayo nakikinig. Eh hindi nga ba iyan ang ginagawa ni Presidente Duterte (The problem with this youth group is it is echoing the opposition’s stance. You are not listening. President Duterte is doing that),” he said.
Panelo also lamented that critics are merely relying on “fake” news against Duterte and his administration.
“Wala na tayong ginawa kundi mag-educate kaugnay sa kahalagahan ng pagbabakuna. Eh ang problema sa inyo, nakikinig kasi kayo doon sa mga tsismis diyan sa social media na ang daming ng peke, mga disinformation diyan (We keep educating the public about the importance of the vaccines. The problem with you is you listen to hearsay on social media. Fake news and disinformation are circulating there),” he said.
The Philippines has so far received a total of 17,455,470 Covid-19 vaccines.
Over 13 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine are also expected to arrive in the country.
Around 7,538,128 of the 10,065,414 individuals have received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, while the remaining 2,527,286 have been fully vaccinated as of June 27.
On June 22, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Malacañang is ready to ask Congress to pass a law mandating the Covid-19 vaccination in the country. (PNA)