June 6, 2023

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo advised critics to stop sowing intrigues about the government’s negotiations with Washington-based pharmaceutical firm Pfizer for the planned purchase of the Covid-19 vaccines.

Panelo issued the statement, as he chided Sen. Francis Pangilinan and Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate for criticizing the government over its supposed failure to secure 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer.

Zarate earlier criticized the government’s alleged preferential treatment to Sinovac Biotech, a Covid-19 vaccine developer from China.

Pangilinan said government officials involved in the delayed procurement of Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer may face graft charges.

Zarate and Pangilinan’s remarks came after Health Sec. Francisco Duque III was accused of “dropping the ball” by failing to submit the confidentiality disclosure agreement on time for the procurement of Pfizer vaccines.

Responding to the two lawmakers’ claims, Panelo denied that the government is delaying the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer.

Panelo said there might just have been a “misunderstanding” between the government officials of the United States and the Philippines who are currently holding talks about the Duterte government’s intent to procure 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

He, nevertheless, ensured that the Philippines is still bent on acquiring Pfizer vaccines.

Senator Panfilo Lacson claimed that Duque failed to prepare the confidentiality disclosure agreement for the acquisition of Covid-19 vaccines with Pfizer.

Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte saw “no major lapse” in the country’s ongoing talks with Pfizer.

The Philippines is currently holding talks with other big pharmaceutical companies Sinovac, Sputnik V from Russia, and AzstraZeneca from the United Kingdom for potential vaccine deals. – PNA release