Presidential Security Group commander Brigadier General Jesus Durante III on Wednesday admitted asking for a donation of unauthorized COVID-19 vaccines.
The unauthorized vaccines administered to some PSG personnel were for free because the PSG requested it, Durante said in an interview on ANC.
“Because we asked for it. We requested for it,” Durante said when asked why the vaccines were given to them for free.
Asked about the anti-graft law prohibiting this practice, Durante said: “I can't answer that question.”
Under Section 3 of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft And Corrupt Practices Act, the following are the sanctionable corrupt practices for public officers:
“In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful:
…(b) Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage, or benefit, for himself or for any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the Government and any other part, wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law.
(c) Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present or other pecuniary or material benefit, for himself or for another, from any person for whom the public officer, in any manner or capacity, has secured or obtained, or will secure or obtain, any Government permit or license, in consideration for the help given or to be given, without prejudice to Section thirteen of this Act.
Durante reiterated that nobody approached PSG to get the supply of unauthorized vaccines, pointing out that it was his independent call.
“We know how to take risks. We know how to face all of these risks. And one of that is the vaccine in fighting this pandemic. So at any costs I have to get that weapon. That is my call. That is an independent call of PSG and that is the call of my command,” he said.
The anti-graft law stated that violating public officers or even private persons shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than 10 years and perpetual disqualification from public office.
On Saturday, President Rodrigo Duterte said many military personnel have already received a COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese manufacturer Sinopharm, which has no approval yet from the Food and Drug Administration. —KG, GMA News