After the Senate raised the alarm and called for a probe into the smuggled Chinese vaccines, the finger-pointing and the haste to deflect presidential blame promptly went to work.
First, the individuals with prior knowledge of the deal started to make justifications after the Palace tenant officially announced that his security cordon and several Cabinet members had already been inoculated.
The pronouncement took the whole country by surprise and the vaccine issue became a national storm that placed the Armed Forces and DILG Secretary Eduardo Año on spotlight. Even the dolphin-loving presidential spokesman, Harry Roque, started to spout irrational arguments that made him the laughingstock of the livid public and the probing media.
As the issue snowballed, the stunned Food and Drug Administration issued a statement declaring that no vaccine has yet been approved for use in the country. This was a way of saying a probe must be done to determine who brought in, received, and administered the drugs.
The justice department also ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct its own probe into the smuggling, and the customs bureau also wanted to know how the contrabands entered the ports. If it was legal, then the only way was through diplomatic pouches. Even the AFP is conducting its own probe.
Now comes the question: Who negotiated the acquisition of the unlicensed treatments? It is easy to take a hunch that ‘a presidential envoy’ was the guy who likely negotiated the deal.
Over the past two months, this individual has been enigmatically announcing in media the arrival of a vaccine already mass-tested in the United Arab Emirates after news of the initial Pfizer deal fell through because somebody ‘dropped the ball.’
It does not take rocket science to discover the vaccine in question belonged to Sinopharm. Just Google ‘UAEvaccine Covid trials’ and you have a complete picture.
The entry of unlicensed Chinese vaccines used to inoculate presidential centurions was the ‘game of the generals’ that failed simply because the plotters thought that with a Palace so beholden to former AFP top guards now in its employ, the issue could be contained easily.
What the masterminds did not expect is that the conduct of bringing in illegal articles to the country smacks head-on with the campaign against smuggling. In short, the full-blown scandal has placed the President on the hot seat.
However, of late, the President has virtually thrown the gauntlet by telling Congress not to mess up us with the presidential centurions and refrain from citing with contempt the generals.
From the sidelines, this will be an interesting development.