A Gift From Heaven?



A person who “dropped the ball” is said to have committed a stupid mistake in a careless way. But someone who regularly does it is considered a stupid person undoubtedly.


DFA Secretary Teddy Locsin last week revealed that someone from the government “dropped the ball” that prevented the Philippines from acquiring the much needed initial 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from the well-respected Pfizer-BioNTech, a joint US-German company by early January next year—it would have been a done deal, according to the good Secretary, the very first Asian nation-recipient of said vaccine. Instead, Singapore beats us to the draw because they don’t drop the ball easily.


In his initial interview in regard to this latest fiasco, Senator Ping Lacson didn’t name the high-ranking government official who dropped the ball, however, in the latest news conference, he openly disclosed that it was indeed DOH Secretary Francisco Duque—the usual suspect as the culprit!


For failure to submit the one documentary requirement to obtain the go- ahead signal for Pfizer to supply us the crucial and most efficacious vaccine, we are now relegated to the next window of delivery happening sometime in Summer of next year—by then, many sufferings and deaths would be added to the count which surely could have been prevented, report says.


But Duque, as he regularly does, denies every bit of mistake he makes and blames it to others systematically to fend off those accusing fingers directed to his thick face for inefficiency, negligence and dereliction of duty. He tries to reason out emphatically that the revised CDA (Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement) submitted to him last Sept. 24, needs comprehensive “reviews of conditionalities and provisions to make sure that it is not disadvantageous to the government”. The revised CDA though only replaced the signatories—from DOST and DOH to the Office of the President and back to DOH with insignificant and very little changes.


Duque claimed “he finally signed the CDA on Oct 30; about THREE WEEKS after he received the advisory from the Office of the Executive Secretary” which directed the DOH (him) to be the final signatory of the CDA. He heroically stated further that even when there were still some provisions that he felt “one-sided”, he signed it anyway because he is compelled to do so given our situation. Now he wants us to believe that we owe him that!


The truth of the matter is that the DOH and Pfizer had been exchanging comments with successive alterations undertaken between them on that same CDA for the past several months. Duque even illustrated the chronological events of this CDA preparation in his press briefing. Any “one-sided” or “onerous” conditions he doubts existed would have been corrected/amended by that time, but it stayed on his desk for that long period because he claimed he had to submit it to the lawyers for another round of thorough scrutiny, he said.


This assertion of his is the most unnatural contortions of events that only the likes of him can forge. The point is, no matter how he refutes the accusation that he “dropped the ball”, it would not change the fact that the important document failed to reach Pfizer on time because of the delay, and hence, we won’t get the initial vaccine release this January.


For this entire flimsy excuses, Duque’s rationalization over and again that Pfizer never mentioned to him any deadline is the most hypocritical justification of all—which leads him perhaps to idiotically conclude that the CDA submission must not be a pressing issue that took him three weeks to sign it? Is this pandemic with 460,000 cases and almost 9,000 deaths and counting as of this writing in our country alone, not a pressing issue for this Health Secretary? He has no sense of urgency and compassion, WTF!


The rest is now finger-pointing and denunciation in various directions with Duque again washing his hands like the depraved derelict that he is out to stifle the last ember of his moral ascendency before it completely erodes him (is there anything left on it?).


But of course, being the most beatified apostle of the President, Dugue believes enunciating the words mea culpa is not applicable to the inculpable like him. He ostensibly holds the balls of the president firmly in his hands and no way he will be dropped like the CDA he was accused of dropping.


Filipinos don’t have to worry, the flamboyant mouthpiece of the president, Harry “Foxy” Roque said as he tries to promptly defend his buddy, Dugue, and muddle this latest government vaccine debacle by putting a positive twist on it. There is Sinovac from China, which will be made available sooner than we expect, he gleefully announced. Besides, Duque is now singing a falsetto-different tune. He is saying that there was never a 10 million Pfizer vaccine guarantee in the first place, so the government touted SinoVac must really be a gift from heaven to Filipinos!


Why the government openly welcomes inoculations of this China-made vaccine, which is also one of the most expensive when Cambodia’s Prime Minister shunned the same, declaring, “Cambodians will not be guinea pig for China’s CoVid vaccine”, is for the government to conscientiously explain. But, to prove once and for all that this Sinovac is safe and there are no serious side effects, it is suggested by the Devil’s advocate that Roque, Duque and the ultimate patron of China who sits in the Palace along Pasig River should take the shots ahead of everyone else. The shots, however, should be administered and witnessed by an impartial group to prove the trio’s sincerity and confidence in this Sinovac before everyone else takes a stab at it. Let’s wait for what happens first.


Late last week Sec.Teddy Locsin announced in his tweet that he had a great phone conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo where he asked him if we “can get back even a fraction of the 10 million doses of Pfizer after someone dropped the ball. He’ll (Pompeo) give it his best try”. Philippine Ambassador to US Babe Romualdez, on his end, is also working on securing vaccine from another recently US approved manufacturer, Moderna, Locsin added. Great news!


However, since this will be a limited quantity, the readers’ don’t have to guess as to who will be its fortunate recipients outside of the most exposed front liners—depending on which side you belong, the canonical precept of the present dispensation is: “many will be called, but few will be chosen”. So, the rest of the population should just look forward to that “gift from heaven” made in China.