PNP disputes Mon Tulfo claim Sinas got Sinopharm vaccine in 2020
Photo release shows Police Gen. Debold Sinas, the chief of the Philippine National Police, when he visited Oriental Mindoro on the day he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Facebook/Oriental Mindoro PIO

PNP disputes Mon Tulfo claim Sinas got Sinopharm vaccine in 2020

Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) - March 18, 2021 - 7:22pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police has disputed a claim by a newspaper columnist that Police Gen. Debiold Sinas, Philippine National Police chief, was vaccinated with smuggled Sinopharm doses last year.

The smuggled vaccines were administered to members of the Presidential Security Group as well as, according to columnist Mon Tulfo, Cabinet officials and a senator. An investigation into the unauthorized vaccinations has gone nowhere.

"Our chief simply said that if he had his vaccine, he could not have been infected with COVID-19," Police Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana, PNP spokesperson, said in denying the claim.

Persons who had received the vaccine for the COVID-19, however, are not entirely immune from contracting it after receiving the jab. 

Tulfo on Thursday claimed that Philippine National Police chief Gen. Debold Sinas has been vaccinated for the coronavirus and is likely to survive the infection that came as he breached health protocols last week.

Tulfo in his regular column in the Manila Times said Sinas, along with members of his security detail, were among those who got the smuggled Sinopharm in November 2020. 

President Rodrigo Duterte's special envoy to China admitted last month that he also received the jab, declaring that he did not feel guilty about it despite the inoculation being illegal as the Chinese-made jab is not approved by local regulators.

Tulfo, who wants to be a distributor of the vaccine, admitted to essentially lobbying for the Chinese government-made jab in talks with the president.

"I learned from medical experts that one who has been inoculated with the anti-COVID vaccine could still contract the disease," Tulfo wrote. "But his chances of survival would be much greater than one who has not."

The PNP announced on March 11 that Sinas had contracted COVID-19. Such news, however, did not shield him from criticism after Oriental Mindoro officials said he skipped the mandatory health screening when he visited the province on the same day he was awaiting his results.

It marked the second time that the country's top cop violated pandemic-related curbs, with the first being his birthday bash in May 2020 that drew attendees despite mass gatherings disallowed.

Oriental Mindoro Gov. Humerlito Dolor said Sinas could face charges this time and vowed to give "no VIP treatment for anybody."

In the same column, Tulfo said he "quite understands" why Sinas skirted protocols and said the national police chief should be forgiven "since he thought that since he had already been vaccinated, he would be immune." — with reports from Franco Luna

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