The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has been on the watch against fake vaccines for the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said on Thursday, Feb. 4.
Guevarra pointed this out as the NBI has been conducting an investigation on the unauthorized entry and use of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
“I suppose that in the investigation being conducted by the NBI on the alleged entry and distribution of unregistered COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines, the possible existence of fake vaccines among those being sold underground is included,” the secretary said.
Guevarra himself gave the directive to the NBI to conduct the investigation.
However, he said, he has yet to receive a latest report from the NBI on the investigation it is conducting.
In Department Order No. 314 issued last Jan. 1, the secretary instructed the NBI “to conduct an investigation on the reported importation, sale, offering for sale, distribution, administration, and inoculation of COVID-19 vaccines that are not authorized by or registered with the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines, and, if evidence warrants, to file the appropriate charges against all persons involved and found responsible for any unlawful act in connection therewith.”
The secretary issued the order following revelations made by Presidential Security Group (PSG) commander Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III that the PSG was able to get COVID-19 vaccines and have its personnel vaccinated to better protect Duterte from getting infected with the virus.
But Guevarra had already clarified that his order for the NBI to conduct the investigation was not prompted by the reports on the vaccination conducted on PSG security personnel.