Sun. May 16th, 2021
(Photo Courtesy: http://www.rappler.com)

A senator said on Thursday said that some government officials may be held liable for graft over the failure of the government to secure an early deal with Pfizer to supply 10 million doses of its vaccine for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Senator Francis Pangilinan said in a statement that he finds something suspicious in the failure of the government to close the deal with Pfizer that was facilitated by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as early as July this year.

“We just hope it’s not an issue of ‘kickvac’ that led to the ‘dropping of the ball’ in the vaccine procurement,” Pangilinan said.

“On the other hand, if it can be proved that the refusal to act within a reasonable time was intended to favor another party, then Section 3(f) of the anti-graft law applies,” he said.

To recall, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said “somebody dropped the ball” on the government’s deal with Pfizer to procure Covid-19 vaccines that could have assured the Philippines would have 10 million doses by January next year. Locsin attributed the derailing of the deal to the non-issuance of the Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA) for the deal. The CDA was even followed up by Pfizer representatives.

Locsin also tweeted about the botched deal with Pfizer.  “That said, my thanks just the same to US Sec of State Mike Pompeo we—Babe Romualdez and I—got 10 million doses of Pfizer financed by [the] World Bank and ADB (Asian Development Bank) to be shipped thru FEDEX to Clark in January. BUT SOMEBODY DROPPED THE BALL. I have steel ball bearings. I just need a slingshot,” Locsin said in a tweet on Tuesday.

However, Duque denied that Pfizer promised or committed to provide the Philippine government with 10 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine.“Besides, there was nothing binding. Nothing in our talks. So this was all open-ended, exploratory, and it was really meant to just get the data from Pfizer to know more about the safety profile of the vaccine, efficacy, result of the clinical phase 1 and 2 trials because at that time they are still not done with their clinical trials phase 3,” he said. SOVEREIGNPH

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