The Commission on Elections is now printing official Automated Election System ballots for the 2022 national and local polls beginning with BARMM which started 11:27 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 23 at the National Printing Office.(MNS photo)

MANILA, Jan 24 (Mabuhay) — Mandatory vaccination is not unconstitutional and has been conducted in the past, a senator said Monday, as discussion on whether to mandate COVID jabs continue.

Senator Francis Tolentino cited the “administrative code of 1917,” saying full vaccination for smallpox was then mandatory.”

Tolentino also said there was a 1936 Philippine Supreme Court decision convicting a physician father who “failed to present his children for vaccination.”

“My position is this mandatory vaccination is not unconstitutional, it jibes with several provisions of the Constitution, it jibes with several international human rights conventions where in government is allowed to derogate certain constitutional rights during periods of emergency such as what we have right now,” he said.

Tolentino, however, said Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta must be given a chance to explain why she won’t get vaccinated yet.

“Let her explain. we cannot just condemn her. Give her a chance to explain,” he said.

“She’s subjected to administrative liability because she’s part of the government, she’s a high official and government’s mantra is full vaccination.”

Acosta earlier said she was waiting for a “protein-based” COVID-19 vaccine and lashed back at Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon for urging the justice department to bar her from attending work in-person.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque has appealed to Acosta to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Philippines has fully vaccinated 57.2 million individuals, while 59.8 million others have received an initial dose while 6.2 million booster shots have been administered as of Saturday, according to Department of Health data. (MNS)

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