Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. should not have apologized to the senators probing the government’s vaccination program if he committed no wrongdoing, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Friday.
In his “Counterpoint” program, Panelo said Galvez was actually the “victim” after some unfairly insinuated irregularity in the government’s vaccine acquisition efforts.
“Ito naman si Secretary Galvez gaya ng sinabi sa inyo mabait na tao ito. Nakita ninyo nag-apologize pa. Sa akin, hindi siya kailangan mag-apologize kung wala naman siyang kasalanan (Secretary Galvez, as I told you, is a good man. You’ve seen that he apologized. For me, he should not have apologized if he did nothing wrong),” he said.
“Siya nga ang biktima. Dapat ang nag-apologize ‘yung mga parang pinapalabas ninyo na corrupt (He is the victim. Those apparently trying to show that he is corrupt should issue an apology),” he added.
Panelo recognized the lawmakers’ duty to investigate in aid of legislation but he frowned on attempts to cast doubt on the integrity of officials invited to the hearing. He noted that President Duterte has allowed Galvez and other officials to attend the hearing but told them to leave if they will be disrespected.
“Siyempre sasabihin ng bang mga senador, ‘Hindi, trabaho lang namin.’ Alam naman natin na trabaho ninyo (Of course some senators would say, ‘No, it’s our job.’ We know it’s your job) but there are many ways of conducting an inquiry without putting the resource person in a situation where the viewers, the listeners mahihikayat na magduda (will be persuaded to voice doubts). ‘Yun lang naman punto natin (That’s our point),” he said.
At the Senate’s third hearing on the government’s vaccination program Friday, Galvez publicly apologized for any statement that offended the senators. “For whatever statement that I made, I would make an apology if I have hurt your feelings,” he told the senators.
The vaccine czar said he respects the Senate’s oversight functions and promised to perform his duty “with respect for all concerned, in spirit of integrity, accountability, fairness, and transparency.”