- Harry Roque received backlash from netizens, including known personalities, regarding his statement that the smuggled vaccines should be considered as ‘tokens’
- The issue is about the illegal vaccination of PSG personnel using smuggled vaccines
- One of the critics was Dr. Tony Leachon who explained why those vaccines cannot be considered as tokens
- Other bashers of the presidential spokesperson included Enchong Dee and Pia Magalona
Harry Roque was slammed by personalities on social media for his statement that the smuggled vaccines used on PSG personnel can be considered as ‘tokens’.
Recently, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte revealed that many Filipinos have already been vaccinated against COVID-19. Among them were the personnel of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).
However, it was also disclosed that the Sinopharm vaccines used on them were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Thus, they are considered illegal or smuggled.
In defense of the government, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque stated that the public should think of the vaccines as Christmas ‘tokens’ for the soldiers.
For the said statement, many celebrities and even politicians reacted on social media. Some expressed their comments on Twitter.
According to Dr. Tony Leachon, those vaccines cannot be considered as simple tokens:
“Vaccines are not simple tokens. $145 = P7,250 That’s the price of 2 doses of Sinopharm vaccine, says its chairman. That is not a “token” amount, contrary to Sec. Harry Roque’s claim.The law limits to P5,000 the amount of a gift that a government official may accept.”
He also gave some information, referring to the smuggled vaccines as counterfeit drugs. Thus, they were illegally used.
“Counterfeit Drugs Sec 3, a, 5- definition of counterfeit drugs. refer to “unregistered imported drug product.”
“Even donation of vaccines and then used is prohibited by law without FDA approval. It’s up to FDA Director Domingo. The ball is in his hands.”
Enchong Dee was among the celebrities who commented. He retweeted Rappler’s post and captioned it with:
“Eto yung administration na walang group chat at gagamitin lahat ng words sa dictionary para makalusot sa batas na sila mismo ang lumalabag (emojis)”
Pia Magalona also expressed her opinion after retweeting Dr. Lechon's message:
“Here are the FACTS @attyharryroque you just shoot your mouth off without even thinking. Because you know you’re gonna get away with it, regardless.”
Harry Roque is a lawyer, former law professor, and politician. He currently serves as the Presidential Spokesperson of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
In connection to the issue, National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted that the vaccines used on the PSG personnel were smuggled. Yet, there are also some celebrities who defended the move, including Robin Padilla.
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