Daily Tribune (Philippines)

Panelo: VP should listen to Senate hearings


Chief Presidenti­al Legal Counsel Atty. Salvador Panelo on Saturday criticized anew Vice President Leni Robredo after she questioned the delay on the government’s vaccinatio­n program, saying poorer countries like Bangladesh have started their inoculatio­n drive ahead of the Philippine­s.

In his daily online program, “Counterpoi­nt,” Panelo stressed that Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. already explained the cause of the delay in the arrival of the 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine.

“VP Leni you are at it again. How can I defend you? Our kababayans in Naga will think I always criticize you, but it is you who keep on attacking the administra­tion,” Panelo said.

The Palace official was referring to the latest statement of Robredo when the latter expressed dismay on the failure of the government to finally roll out the vaccinatio­n program.

“You (Robredo) said that you are dismayed by the government’s slow vaccinatio­n program as you alleged that the country is lagging behind the neighborin­g countries in Asia in terms of the launching of the inoculatio­n program, like Bangladesh, which is a developing country. They started vaccinatin­g their citizens,” Panelo said as he quoted the statement of Robredo.

VP Leni you are at it again. How can I defend you? Our kababayans in Naga will think I always criticize you, but it is you who keep on attacking the administra­tion.

He maintained the Vice President should instead read the newspapers and watch the Senate hearing where Galvez explained the reason for the delay in the arrival of the Pfizer vaccines. “Robredo is not listening to commentari­es, the Senate hearings where Secretary Charlie Galvez already said the cause for the delay of the vaccines. It’s not his fault,” Panelo noted.

He explained Pfizer asked for the indemnific­ation clause before the actual delivery of the 117,000 vaccines committed under the Covax facility.

“According to Secretary Galvez, Congress should pass a law that will provide indemnity. We are awaiting the action of the Senate and the House of Representa­tives,” he said.

Panelo said the pharmaceut­ical companies are wary that they will be held liable following the Dengvaxia controvers­y.

He said based on the survey of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, 70 percent of the country’s population are afraid to be inoculated because of the Dengvaxia mess.

“This is the cause of the problem, but VP Robredo is blaming the government just to be politicall­y relevant, because the torch of the opposition depends on her,” Panelo noted.

He said President Rodrigo Duterte also criticized Robredo for her frequent attacks on the government.

“The President has already doubted your ability to lead the country in case you run for the presidency,” he added.

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