Senator calls to bar unvaccinated PAO chief from work

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
Senator calls to bar unvaccinated PAO chief from work
This composite photo shows Sen. Franklin Drilon and Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Acosta.
Senate PRIB / Joseph Vidal | The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Chief of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) Persida Acosta must be disallowed from reporting to work, following her refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon told Malacanang and the Justice Department on Wednesday.

This comes days after Acosta admitted in a television interview that she chose to not receive the COVID-19 vaccine, citing age and other health reasons. 

"Until she gets vaccinated, she should be barred from reporting to work," Drilon said in a statement posted on the Senate website on Wednesday.

"Acosta is putting the life, health and safety of her co-workers in danger and that should be dealt with accordingly and decisively," he added. 

Drilon said that said that the government's "no vax, stay at home" and "no vax, no ride" policies must apply to everyone, including local leaders. 

For him, barring Acosta from reporting to work is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte's pronouncements to limit the movements of unvaccinated individuals. 

Acosta's boss, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, has separately said that the PAO chief needs to follow government regulations which restrict the movements of unvaccinated people to ensure public safety.

On Monday, Acosta clarified that she is not against the vaccination efforts, but added that she is "having second thoughts and she's waiting for a protein-based vaccine." At present, the available COVID-19 vaccines are RNA (ribonucleic acid)-based. 

"I cannot just use a new drug that doesn't suit my cellular system," Acosta said in a separate interview with ONE News' "Agenda" on Wednesday, insisting that she is not an anti-vaxxer.






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