Malacañang said on Monday it was not President Rodrigo Duterte’s fault that Filipinos flocked to vaccination centers before the Metro Manila enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) took effect.

On July 28, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered authorities to keep Filipinos who had yet to receive Covid-19 vaccines from going outside their residences, saying they were “walking spreaders” of the virus.

He also said the country should come up with a law punishing unvaccinated individuals “going around.”

On Aug. 5, a day before the Metro Manila ECQ, photos and videos of Filipinos flocking to vaccination centers and violating social distancing protocols made the rounds on social media.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque said these two events were unrelated since they were a week apart.

“Linawin po natin ha: Nangyari po ang pagdumog ng mga tao sa ilang vaccination sites sa Metro Manila at Region IV-A noong madaling araw nang umaga ng Huwebes, August 5. At kailan po huling nagsalita ang Presidente tungkol sa bagay na ito, e July 28 pa po,” Roque said.

Roque asserted that there were fake news peddlers who made the people panic.

“Mayroon po talagang mga nagsabotahe. At ang pakiusap po natin, wala po kaming sinisisi, pero iyong mga lokal na pamahalaan, huwag naman kayo magbabaling ng pula sa ating presidente,” he said.

Roque also reported that cases had been filed against five people who spread false information regarding vaccination.

“So iyong mga nagpapakalat po ng fake news, asahan ninyo po – mahahanap po kayo, sasampahan kayo noong kaso, ikukulong kayo!” he added.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government earlier assured that vaccination would continue amid ECQ. John Ezekiel J. Hirro