The Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, classified the suspicions raised against his son, Antônio Cristóvão Neto, 23, as “an unsustainable narrative”.
According to the newspaper The globe, Queiroguinha, as Neto is known, has been at least 30 times at the Planalto Palace and at the Ministry of Health since February this year, when he was launched as a candidate for federal deputy for Paraíba. At times, he would have taken with him mayors and politicians from Paraíba. still according to The globethe minister’s son would use his access to his father’s office to mediate requests for financial resources forwarded by municipalities in Paraíba, in order to gain political support for his candidacy.
“This is a joke. All resources leaving the ministry are evaluated by the technical team. I doubt they [secretários e gestores de contratos] put their CPFs to release funds improperly”, said Queiroga when participating in a public hearing in the Chamber of Deputies.
“What’s the problem with a son visiting his father at his place of work?”, asked the minister, when answering questions from parliamentarians from the Financial Inspection and Control Committees (CFFC); of Consumer Defense (CDC); of Social Security and Family (CSSF); of Labor, Administration and Public Service (CTASP) and Defense of Women’s Rights (Cmulher).
“I act within the law. I have a clear conscience. The Federal Public Ministry can investigate. There is not a penny of public resource released without technical evaluation. My son is affiliated with a political party, the Liberal Party [PL]. We are in a pre-campaign season. And, like you, he has the right to make commitments on behalf of his people. [Que o] judge the population of Paraíba. But in the name of the government [federal] he doesn’t speak,” added Queiroga.
During the hearing, Queiroga acknowledged a slowdown in the pace at which people have returned to posts to take booster doses against covid-19, in addition to regional and age inequalities involving immunization. “The speed of vaccination, in fact, has slowed down. There are several factors. The first one is the improvement of the epidemiological scenario. As we get enough vaccines to immunize the population, the population starts to adhere less to vaccination”, he commented.
The minister also mentioned logistical difficulties to make the immunizers reach the whole country when answering questions about doses stored near the end of validity. “The expiration date of vaccines is really short and, therefore, agility in application is necessary. This would be the ideal world. In the real world, however, things don’t work out that way. In the case of AstraZeneca, for example, the expiration date is six months. Sometimes it arrives a month after being produced. And it needs to be distributed to states and municipalities. Therefore, Fiocruz expanded [o prazo de validade] for nine months. Another point that contributes to having withheld vaccines is the sommelier of vaccines, a person who arrives at the basic health units and wants to choose [entre os produtos de diferentes fabricantes]. As a result, there was an underutilization of some vaccines.”
Queiroga also defended that, if there is a review of the current legislation that authorizes the interruption of pregnancy in cases of rape, risk to the mother’s life and fetal anencephaly, this should happen through a popular referendum.
“The government defends life from conception. This is no secret to anyone. President Bolsonaro announced and was elected with this agenda. The defense of the life of mother and child, of both lives, from conception. We are against abortion. We respect the exceptions of the law, which is from 1940, “he said.” Any change can only happen with the approval of this House [Câmara dos Deputados], which is where Brazilian legislation must be decided. I, as a minister, doctor and citizen, defend that a change of this kind, which is directly related to the right to life – a stony clause of the Constitution – can only be decided upon by popular referendum.”
Translated to english by RJ983
From Brazil, by EBC News