New law needed to compel COVID-19 vaccination, says Roque

Published September 28, 2021, 5:02 PM

by Raymund Antonio

The government can invoke police power of the State, but there is need for a new law that would compel people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Malacañang said on Tuesday, September 28,

In his virtual media briefing, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the country’s jurisprudence allows the government to require mandatory vaccination but such action would still need a law.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“That’s the jurisdiction of Congress but the President can always certify an administration bill for such as a law,” Roque, a lawyer, said.

The Palace official issued the statement after President Duterte floated again exercising the State’s police power to compel COVID-19 vaccination.

In his last Monday’s pre-recorded public address, Duterte said the State can use its authority, especially to those who refuse to do so because of their personal beliefs or religion.

This was not the first time the President threatened to use police power against those who refuse to get vaccinated.

READ: Duterte to anti-vaxxers: Go with the trend

Last June, he had warned “hard-headed” Filipinos that they may be arrested for their unwillingness to take coronavirus shot.

While the State has an inherent police power to ensure public safety, Roque said that a new policy must be implemented when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination.

“Ang sabi naman niya, iyong mga taong gobyerno kung ayaw nilang magbakuna, eh h’wag silang magtrabaho sa gobyerno (What he said they should not work in government if they don’t want to get vaccinated). So, I guess sisimulan ni Presidente iyong requirement na kinakailangang bakunado para magtrabaho po sa gobyerno (the President will start the requirement of being vaccinated in order to work in government),” he said.

“But this is without prejudice to Congress passing a law because our jurisprudence upholds the validity of laws requiring the vaccination to be mandatory,” Roque added.