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Deflections to the max

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - January 4, 2021 - 12:00am

Happy New Year to all! Thank goodness the very difficult 2020 has passed. I would have liked to talk about good things at the start of the year but we just cannot let this one pass. If the words "quarantine, lockdown, and pandemic" dominated last year, I think "vaccine" would be on most people's vocabulary this year.

No vaccine has been approved for distribution and use in the country. That is the official statement of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That is unless you are a member of the Presidential Security Group (PSG). Members of the PSG have supposedly been inoculated with the vaccine from Sinopharm since September of last year. This is according to President Duterte himself. PSG chief Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III also came out stating they acquired the vaccines from Sinopharm themselves and even proudly saying that vaccinating one another was easy.

This revelation has spawned so many questions that the PSG and the government seem to have no definite answers. Instead, they have deflected the issue to the max. How did the vaccines get into the country? According to the Bureau of Customs, they have no records of a vaccine entering the country, therefore the only explanation would be they were smuggled. Last time I checked that was still a crime. And if Durante is to be believed, who talked to Sinopharm to acquire the vaccines? According to presidential spokesman Roque, the vaccines were a gift and no funds were used so no law was broken, end of the story. So the Palace was aware of the illegal entry of the Chinese-made vaccine. Of course Sen. Dela Rosa, a former PNP chief would put in his two cents by saying we should all be thankful to the PSG for allowing themselves to be the guinea pigs of the vaccine. Having themselves inoculated was done to protect the president. But what if the vaccine is not effective? The Sinopharm vaccine efficacy rates vary so in essence some of the PSG recipients will not develop any immunity to COVID-19.

This issue is par for the course for this administration. They can justify any illegal act because they can. What good is the FDA if they cannot stop a branch of government from acting illegally? What will the Bureau of Customs do now that smuggling was involved during the acquisition of the vaccine? Will anything come out of the NBI investigation? What is the stand of the DOJ if what transpired was clearly against the law? Will the whole PSG be charged? And is it plausible that the PSG voluntarily decided to directly get in touch with Sinopharm without the knowledge of anyone else? If the staff of Vice President Robredo did the exact thing, justifying protection for the vice president, wouldn't they be arrested immediately and imprisoned?

This is how entitled the police and military have become under President Duterte. The public must believe they are not breaking any laws in whatever they do, that they must be respected, or else, that they are the first to receive benefits from salary increases to receiving inoculation with illegally entered vaccines. The frontliners were not even considered to be the first recipients of the vaccine. All this while the country has yet to legally receive a high-efficacy rate, FDA-approved vaccine from a reputable company to be administered to the general public.

It is good to be the king.

NEW YEAR
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