MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar on Wednesday invoked his subpoena power in running after those behind the alleged sale of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines and vaccination slots.
“At least, isang tao na ang kilala na ng PNP na sangkot dito kaya ang tamang gawin niya ay pumunta sa aking opisina upang magbigay linaw sa isyung ito. Huwag ka nang makipaglaro ng taguan sa ating mga kapulisan (At least one person has been identified by the PNP as involved in this activity so it would be better for him to come to my office and shed light on this issue. Don't play hide and seek with our police force),” Eleazar said in a video posted on social media.
Eleazar earlier tasked the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Anti-Cybercrime Group to look into the allegations on the sale of vaccines and vaccination slots circulating on social media.
He said the suspect directly offered a vaccine slot to a high school friend through a social media messaging app.
The suspect has reportedly gone into hiding and has already deactivated all his social media accounts, Eleazar said.
“Hindi katanggap-tanggap ang ganitong uri ng gawain, totoo man o hindi (This activity is unacceptable, even if it's true or not), and I will do everything in my power as your Chief PNP upang mabigyan ng linaw ang isyung ito (to shed light on this issue),” Eleazar said.
Reports said a certain Norman Rabaya, who was allegedly offered a vaccination slot by the suspect for a fee, has already submitted his sworn statement to the Mandaluyong police regarding the incident.
Rabaya said he became suspicious after learning that the vaccination slot offered to him is in Mandaluyong when he is a resident of Las Piñas.
Under Republic Act 10973, the PNP chief, deputy director for administration, and CIDG chief have the authority to issue subpoenas in relation to the police’s conduct of investigations, particularly on high-profile crimes.
Eleazar also expressed support for Malacañang’s call for local government units (LGUs) to pass ordinances that would prohibit the sale of vaccination slots allotted for their constituents.
He said these ordinances would serve as a deterrent against this illegal activity.
“An ordinance that would explicitly state that Covid-19 vaccination slots are non-transferable would be a very helpful measure to deter persons from selling or at least being tempted to sell these slots. The ordinance can also clearly define penalties for persons who still attempt to do so as well as LGU employees who might abet them,” he added.
The sale of Covid-19 vaccines in the country for commercial use is prohibited as these are only approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. (PNA)