SC Justice Samuel Martires is new Ombudsman

UNTV News   •   July 26, 2018   •   6171

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Martires (RTVM)

President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Martires as the new ombudsman.

His marching order to Martires is to do what is right.

Martires, who is a former Sandiganbayan associate justice, is the first Supreme Court appointee of Pres. Duterte.

Martires replaced retired Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales. — UNTV New Media

Duterte volunteers to be first to be inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine, but in private — Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   January 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang stressed on Tuesday (January 26) that President Rodrigo Duterte already decided with finality that he would get coronavirus vaccine shot in private.

This, despite the suggestion of vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr to make it public as the President will boost confidence in the government’s vaccination program. 

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, however, said such is the President’s personal preference.

“He had said so. Sabi nga niya, dahil sa puwet siya magpapasaksak so hindi pwedeng public (He said he wants to get shot in the buttock so it cannot be public),” Roque said.

Duterte said he is willing to be inoculated and volunteered to be the one to get the first vaccine shot to set an example.

Roque said the President wants to have it done the way Queen Elizabeth II did by announcing it only after she and Prince Philip received the vaccine.

Other leaders, meanwhile, preferred to be vaccinated in public like US President Joe Biden, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte hits critics over claims of corruption in vaccine procurement

Marje Pelayo   •   January 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has fired back at critics of the government’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement program over claims that transactions are tainted with corruption.

The Chief Executive is even willing to personally speak with them, particularly those who are saying that the government is favoring a manufacturer or supplier.

Kung sino nagsabi niyan (Whoever said that), please rise and be brave enough that you’re the one. I’d like to talk to you,” Duterte said.

Duterte stressed that his trusted representatives in the negotiations for COVID-19 vaccine procurement are not tasked with handling money.

His statement comes after Senator Panfilo Lacson’s post on Twitter which credits the Senate’s early probe into the government’s vaccine procurement plan for the drop in prices of Sinovac, thereby saving the people billions of pesos in the country’s vaccination program.

“I take exception to the statement nitong (that) they were able to prevent corruption or overpricing (of vaccines) because of their vigilance. No. Far from it actually. You were just muddling up,” Duterte said, adding that all negotiations made by Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. go through review and scrutiny of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and himself before finality.

“I will take a look and ask around if it is really reasonable pricing for us,” the President noted.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Philippine Navy (PN) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) have freezers that the government may use to transport vaccines that require sub-zero temperatures.

He said the PN has a total of four military vessels which have built-in freezers with a temperature range of negative 18 degrees Celsius to negative 15 degrees Celsius while those of the PCG range from 25 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius.  

“Puwede po nating gamitin ito kapag magta-transport ng bakuna mula Manila at sa mga islands dito sa Visayas at saka dito pa sa Luzon siguro, (We can use those vessels to transport vaccines from Manila to the islands in Visayas and anywhere in Luzon), Lorenzana said.

The Defense Chief also said that medics from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are set to undergo training next week for their participation in the roll out of mass vaccination especially in the province. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte rescinds IATF decision, orders 10 to14-year-olds to stay home

Marje Pelayo   •   January 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte revoked the earlier decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 (IATF) easing age restrictions in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Duterte expressed concern that children aged 10 to 14 years old may compromise their safety and the safety of the older sector given that the new strain of coronavirus is said to be more contagious.

“Just to be sure and in our desire to protect our people, napilitan akong (I was compelled) ire-impose ang (the) 10 to 14 (years old restriction). Not at this time. It’s a sacrifice for the parents and for the children. It would limit their movements,” the President said late Monday night (January 25).

Following the president’s announcement, children 10 to 14 years of age are still not allowed to go outside their homes.

This policy, the President said, will remain in effect until the government is sure that the public is safe from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through vaccination.

Last Friday (January 22), the IATF announced its plan to relax age restrictions which is supposed to take effect on February 1.

President Duterte asked for the public’s understanding regarding his latest decision.

Pasensya na po kayo. (I’m sorry.) Mine is just a precaution,” he said. 

Takot lang ako kasi itong bagong (I’m worried because this new) strain strikes the young children,” he added,  reminding the public to continuously follow the standard health and safety protocols as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country remains high.

To date, COVID-19 cases in the country have surpassed the half a million mark.

Meanwhile on Tuesday (January 26), the IATF is expected to come up with a recommendation on the quarantine classifications to be imposed for February.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during Monday’s meeting reported that at this stage, the health care utilization rate in Davao de Oro and Baguio City has reached the critical level while that of Nueva Viscaya and Agusan del Norte are already high. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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