PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar on Saturday ordered the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to lead their probe on the alleged ‘under the table’ sale of COVID-19 vaccines procured by the government.
“Tutugisin natin para panagutin sa batas ang mga pasimuno at gumagawa ng ganitong modus. As per directive of our SILG Eduardo Año, I have ordered the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to identify and arrest the person or persons behind these scams. Inatasan din natin ang CIDG na makipag-ugnayan sa ating mga LGUs,” the top cop said”
Gen. Eleazar said the PNP-CIDG headed by Major Gen. Albert Ignatius D. Ferro is also going after all individuals involved in the illegal online sale of COVID-19 test kits and other supposed medicines to cure the virus.
“Iligal po ang pagbebenta ng COVID vaccine na nagawaran lamang ng Emergency Use Authorization o EUA ng ating Food and Drug Administration. Nananatiling bawal ang pagbebenta ng mga bakuna kontra COVID dito sa atin, ayon na rin sa advisory ng FDA at ng National Task Force against COVID-19,” he said.
Sec. Año ordered the PNP to investigate viral social media posts that vaccine slots in different LGUs were being sold by unscrupulous persons who set prices depending on the COVID-19 vaccine brand.
The PNP chief said the FDA has not approved the marketing or sale of any COVID-19 vaccine which makes selling or any kind of this activity illegal.
Citing initial reports that the PNP received, Gen. Eleazar said the vaccination slots are being offered in various areas for a price ranging from P10,000 to P15,000 depending on the vaccine brand.
“Merong espesyal na lugar sa impiyerno ang mga ganitong uri ng tao pero ngayon pa lang, gagawin natin ang lahat para mapanagot sila sa kalokohang ito. Ang mga bakuna ay donasyon at binili ng ating pamahalaan para ibigay ng libre sa ating mga kababayan. Ibayong hirap ang pinag-daanan natin para makakuha tayo ng bakuna laban sa COVID kaya hindi katanggap-tanggap na pagkakitaan ito,” he said.
Gen. Eleazar advised the public that they do not have to pay any single centavo for the vaccination, adding that all they have to do is to have themselves registered and wait for their turn to be vaccinated because there is a priority list that is being followed by the national government.
Vaccine czar Scretary Carlito Galvez earlier said the vaccination of essential workers and indigent Filipinos is expected to start by next month.
The PNP chief also urged the public to immediately report to authorities anyone selling COVID-19 vaccines or vaccination slots. Information or concerns may be relayed to the PNP through its E-Sumbong complaint monitoring and referral system, he said
Authorities have also launched an investigation on the supposed selling of COVID-19 vaccine priority slots in the cities of San Juan and Mandaluyong.
Viral reports on social media state slots have been sold for P8,000 to P15,000, depending on the brand.
Mandaluyong Mayor Menchie Abalos said Friday she instructed the city police chief to coordinate with the National Bureau of Investigation on the matter.
“An investigation is already underway. Through the NBI, we will know if these are real or dummy online accounts,” Abalos said in a statement. “But whether real or fake, they will be answerable to the law,” she added.
San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora also vowed to act against the alleged scheme.
“We have reached out to the individual who posted this so we can take necessary actions against this person claiming to have access to our vaccination program for a fee,” he said Friday in a statement, referring to the post claiming the person received an offer for vaccine access supposedly through Mandaluyong or San Juan’s vaccination program. With CNN Philippines