Business World

Ex-special envoy to China could also be included in NBI probe on illegal COVID vaccines

- Bianca Angelica D. Añago

RAMON T. Tulfo, a former special envoy to China, could be included in the National Bureau of Investigat­ion’s (NBI) ongoing probe on the smuggling and administra­tion of China-made uncertifie­d coronaviru­s disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines. Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra told reporters on Wednesday that he is leaving it up to the NBI to make the decision. “I have directed the NBI to submit a progress report on the above investigat­ion ASAP (as soon as possible),” Mr. Guevarra said. The Food and Drug Administra­tion and the Department of Health had already confirmed the inclusion of Mr. Tulfo in their respective investigat­ions on the matter. Mr. Tulfo publicly admitted to having knowledge on the alleged smuggling of Sinopharm vaccines from China, and had himself injected with one dose last year as he wanted to be the local distributo­r of the vaccine brand. The China state-owned Sinopharm has yet to apply for emergency use of its vaccines in the Philippine­s. The Presidenti­al Security Group also confirmed earlier that they inoculated their members with unregister­ed COVID-19 vaccines to better protect President Rodrigo R. Duterte from getting infected with the virus. —

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