THE PRESIDENTIAL Palace on Tuesday asked local governments to pass an ordinance that would penalize people selling coronavirus vaccination slots, a day after the Manila city government took such initiative.

“Our appeal to the local governments is to pass a similar ordinance that will impose penalties on those selling slots, so it will be clear that we have legal basis to punish those committing such act,” Presidential Spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. said in Filipino during a televised news briefing.

The police are already looking into the reported sale of vaccination slots in the cities of San Juan and Mandaluyong, which was flagged by netizens last week by citing alleged transactions through social media posts.    

Police chief Guillermo T. Eleazar said on Tuesday that they are investigating the matter as an online scam and possibly with political motivation.

“We cannot also discount the possibility that this is politically motivated, probably employed to discredit the reputation of the LGU (local government unit) involved,” Mr. Eleazar said in a statement.

The police earlier said they already have the name of the person who could be involved in the scam but declined to divulge details.

Philippine National Police Spokesperson Ronaldo E. Olay said the suspect claimed to have connections within the LGUs.

The National Bureau of Investigation has also been directed to conduct a separate probe, according to Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Bianca Angelica D. Añago, and Emmanuel Tupas/PHILSTAR