Duterte remarks on using police power vs unvaccinated Pinoys is 'cue' for Congress to come up with a law–Roque

Published September 28, 2021, 5:57 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

President Duterte has “given the cue” for legislators to create a law that would allow the executive to exercise its so-called police power over those who do not want to get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

President Rodrigo Duterte listens to a presentation during the “Talk to the People” public briefing on Monday night, Sept. 27. (Malacañang photo).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed this during a virtual press briefing Tuesday, Sept. 28 with Malacañang reporters.

In the presser, Roque was asked how the Palace intended to exercise this police power over those who up to now have refused to receive COVID-19 shots, be it due to preference or deep personal reasons, such as religion.

Duterte, in his “Talk to the People” public briefing the previous evening, spoke about imposing such rule in order to compel all Filipinos from getting inoculated. He reiterated that unvaccinated individuals are potential carriers of the deadly virus.

“Well, kinakailangan po muna ng batas (There must first be a law),” Roque said in response to the question.

“Ang sabi naman niya iyong mga taong gobyerno kung ayaw nilang magbakuna ay huwag silang magtrabaho sa gobyerno (What he said was, those in government who don’t want to get vaccinated shouldn’t work in government). So, I guess, sisimulan ni Presidente iyong requirement na kinakailangan bakunado para magtrabaho po sa gobyerno (the President wil start it off by making vaccination a requirement for employment in government),” he said, citing a specific sector mentioned by Duterte.

“So, is that a cue for Congress to pass a law?” a reporter asked in a follow up, to which the spokesperson answered in the affirmative.

“Yes, of course, that’s the jurisdiction of Congress, but the President can always certify an administration bill for such a law,” Roque noted.

Duterte has repeatedly said that the vaccines are Filipinos’ best defense against COVID-19, which is a deadly respiratory disease that still has no widely-accepted cure.

On Monday night, Dutere said: “I — opinyon ko lang ‘yan (this is only my opinion) — can compel you under the police power of the state. Tama ‘yan sa gobyerno, ayaw mo magpabakuna, umalis ka (That’s right for government, if you don’t want to get vaccinated, then leave). Go out of government. Why? Because when you are with the government you face people, people transact business officials, well, audiences or visits.”

Also on Tuesday, Roque announced that the country will begin the inoculation of the general population, including children, from COVID-19 next month.

He said the move was approved by the Chief Executive thanks to the current abundance in supply of the life-saving jabs.