Ex-President Aquino shows up at Senate for ‘Dengvaxia’ hearing
Former President Benigno S. Aquino III is back at the Senate on Thursday, not as a senator, but as a resource person in the ongoing probe on the controversial anti-dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.
Aquino, who was senator before he was elected president in 2010, was among those invited by the Senate blue ribbon committee conducting the investigation.
The former leader and some of his Cabinet men were being blamed for allowing the implementation of the P3.5 billion anti-dengue immunization program using Dengvaxia during his term.
The Department of Health (DOH) recently halted the implementation of its program, which started in 2016 under former Health Secretary Janette Garin and continued by the present administration, after French pharmaceutical giant, Sanofi Pasteur, admitted that its own vaccine might be potentially harmful to people not previously exposed to dengue virus.
Aquino, in a text message on Tuesday, promised to tell the truth about the controversy.
“We want to participate in telling the truth to the people as we have always done; at the same time, observing compliance to various laws, rules and traditions,” Aquino said when asked if he would attend the Senate hearing.
According to the DOH, more than 700,000 people had already been vaccinated by Dengvaxia before the program was suspended last December 1 over safety reasons.
Of the number, 10 percent or 70,000 people, who have had no prior dengue infection, were reportedly at risk of contracting the worse symptoms of dengue. /kga
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