AFP vows transparent probe on soldiers’ COVID-19 vaccination

Published January 4, 2021, 3:58 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be transparent in the conduct of an in-depth investigation on the inoculation of some members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) with an unregistered COVID-19 vaccine, a military spokesperson assured Monday.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)

Major General Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, said the probe has already started on the orders of AFP Chief, General Gilbert Gapay.   Among the things that the leadership wants to know is how the vaccines reached the soldiers, how many of them were inoculated, and who administered the vaccines to them.

“The fact na tayo ay nag-co-commit na ating ipatutupad ang ating regulasyon at malaliman ang imbestigasyon ay magpapatunay lamang na tayo ay magiging transparent sa pag-i-imbestiga (The fact that we commit ourselves to implement the regulation and conduct an in-depth investigation only prove that we will be transparent in this probe). Our commitment is to get to the bottom of it in order for us to come up with an informed decision,” Arevalo said in a virtual press briefing.

“Aalamin natin ang circumstances like paano nakuha? They said donation. Let’s determine sino ang nag-donate and sila-sila lang nag-administer nito. Sino among them ang nag-administer? Ilang miyembro ng PSG? (We will determine the circumstanes like how did they acquire it? They [PSG] said those were donations. Let’s determine who donated it, and the soldiers administered it to themselves. Who among them administered it to themselves? How many PSG members were involved?),” he added.

Earlier, Arevalo stated that there is no AFP-sanctioned vaccination among its personnel since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved any vaccine for general use of the public.

The military spokesman vowed that the military will not condone any illegal acts that may have been committed their own personnel if it is established that they have violated the law.

“Ang commitment ever since ay hindi nagto-tolerate o nagku-kunsinti kung mayroon mang kasamahan na nagkamali (Our commitment ever since is we do not tolerate or condone any erring personnel). Sa pagtupad ng tungkulin, tayo ay mayroong (In the conduct of our duties, we have) certain degree of latitude to decide on what to do to accomplish our mission,” Arevalo noted.

Arevalo said they would release the results of the investigation to the public once it is finished but he did not state when it will happen since Gapay did not give them a deadline.

“Walang ibinigay na deadline except by saying na kailangan matapos sa lalong madaling panahon (No deadline was given except that it should be done as soon as possible),” he said.

The Department of Justice has already instructed the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the incident.