Palace defends AFP chief’s request to Chinese envoy for experimental COVID-19 drug

Published April 28, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling 

Armed Forces chief Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. had “no evil motive” when he asked a Chinese envoy to help him buy an experimental drug for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque defended Santos, saying the latter did not commit any crime when he sent a request letter to Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. (YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque 

“I don’t think naman there was any evil motive behind the actions of our good general. Eh iyon po ang nagpagaling sa kanya, so nais lang niya na sana na mapabilis iyong proseso na magamit din natin kung anuman iyong sa tingin niya ay nagpagaling sa kanya,” Roque said in a virtual press conference Tuesday.
(That’s what made him well, so he just wanted to hasten the process so we can also use what helped him recover.)

“He had no bad intentions, but the drug has to be registered with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). And according to the law, he did not commit any crime dahil hindi naman siya nag i-import at hindi siya nagbebenta nitong drogang ito (because he did not import or sell the drug),” he said.

The AFP chief reportedly wrote to the Chinese ambassador seeking assistance to buy a drug that supposedly treats coronavirus symptoms. Santos claimed the drug helped in his recovery and wanted to give the same drug to friends infected with the coronavirus.

Santos later pulled out the request after finding out the medication had no approval yet from the country’s health product regulatory agency. The AFP chief tested positive for the coronavirus and eventually recovered from the illness.