Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Friday called for the Senate to investigate the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination plan of the Philippine government.

“Tama lang na talagang dapat nating busisiin itong bagay na ito dahil in the end, alam mo 70 percent ng ating populasyon ang kinakailangang ma-vaccinate base sa World Health Organization recommendation. Kung wala tayong ganung klaseng maliwanag na plano, hindi tayo babalik sa normal, patuloy ang pagkalat ng Covid, at hindi tayo makakapagbukas ng ating ekonomiya,” he said Friday morning on ANC Headstart via Zoom concerning the government’s P72.5-billion Covid-19 vaccination program.

“Tuluy-tuloy pa rin ang gutom at walang hanapbuhay kaya napakahalaga. Milyun-milyong buhay ang nakataya dito. Milyun-milyong trabaho ang nakataya dito. Trilyong pisong halaga ng ekonomiya ang nakataya dito. Kaya hindi pwedeng basta na lang tayo maghihintay ng hindi maliwanag,” he added.

Pangilinan filed on December 14, 2020 Senate Resolution 594 calling for the Senate Committee of the Whole to “conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the national Covid-19 vaccination program”. According to a press statement from Pangilinan, the hearing may be scheduled early January, depending upon the decision of Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

A few days after the resolution was filed, Senator Panfilo Lacson pinpointed Health Secretary Francisco Duque as the official who botched the Philippines’ acquisition of 10 million doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

Lacson said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin and Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez helped secure the deal but it did not push through after Duque “failed to work on the necessary documentary requirement namely, the Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA) as he should have done.”

Commenting on Duque’s mishandling of the acquisition, Lacson said “dapat may sense of urgency, ‘pag wala kang sense of urgency, medyo may tama yung competence mo. Parang question of competence ‘yan dahil ‘di mo ma-distinguish kung anong bibigyan mo ng prioridad.”

“Huwag naman sana na may issue ng ‘kickvacc’ sa dropping of the ball ng Pfizer vaccine procurement,” Pangilinan said about the botched vaccine deal. “This is precisely why convening the Committee of the Whole is a critical next step. These allegations of negligence or incompetence in the procurement of vaccines must not be left unchecked if we are to prevent a failure in the massive vaccine rollout,” he said.

On December 15, 2020 Locsin tweeted “Babe Romualdez and I—got 10 million doses of Pfizer financed by World Bank and ADB to be shipped thru FEDEX to Clark in January. BUT SOMEBODY DROPPED THE BALL.”

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte advised Duque to “answer the allegations of Secretary Locsin” as they do not know the details of the discussions between Locsin, Romualdez, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Krizzia Nieva / DLSU-D)