President Duterte has offered his presidency to prove that Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. is not corrupt following questions on the government’s acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines.
Duterte made the statement after lawmakers called for transparency in the prices of COVID-19 vaccines the government is negotiating with China’s Sinovac.
In his speech during his trip to Sulu on Friday, Duterte vouched for Galvez’s integrity, even willing to put his presidency on the line.
“Pusta ko ang presidency ko. Walang graft iyan. Si Secretary Galvez kilala ko (I’m betting my presidency for Secretary Galvez. There’s no graft involved there. I know him),” he said.
The President noted how Galvez played an important role in ending the war between government troops and ISIS-inspired terrorists in Marawi City in 2017. Galvez was one of the generals on the ground during the five-month Marawi siege.
“I was there in Marawi when we were fighting the Islamists and I saw in him the [qualities],” Duterte said.
“Kaya noong pag-retire niya, kinuha ko. Tapos ngayon ito ibinigay ko sa kanya lahat (That’s why when he retired, I immediately recruited him. Now, I gave him this responsibility),” he added.
Despite calls, Galvez has refused to reveal the exact cost of the Sinovac vaccine, citing a nondisclosure agreement with the Chinese pharmaceutical company. He, however, assured senators that there is no corruption in the government’s deal with Sinovac.
In November last year, the Department of Health (DOH) told the Senate that two doses of Sinovac’s vaccine were priced at over P3,600. Malacañang, however, said this month that said vaccine brand is only priced at around P650 per shot.
The government has recently procured 25 million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine. An initial 50,000 doses from the Chinese drugmaker is expected to arrive next month.