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SENATE DENGVAXIA HEARING

Gordon hit for one-man show

/ 07:02 AM December 16, 2017


Sen .Richard Gordon at the Senate probe into Dengvaxia, the dengue vaccine procured and used for an immunization program during the Aquino administration. INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON

It’s not supposed to be a one-man show and senators are hoping to get a word in edgewise at the next hearing on the controversial antidengue vaccine after blue ribbon committee chair Sen. Richard Gordon nearly monopolized what was supposed to be a joint inquiry with the health committee.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros said the hearing on the Dengvaxia vaccine “could have been handled and managed in a more participatory and democratic manner in which senators could have been given enough time to ask our questions.”

“After all,” she said, “the blue ribbon committee is a collegial body.”

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Hontiveros said she had a hard time asking questions because of a lack of “latitude and flexibility.”

Sen. Francis Pangilinan also said he hoped to be given a chance to ask his questions “thoroughly” in the next hearing, expected in January.

Gordon, however, disputed claims he did not give other senators the chance to ask questions or had treated resource persons badly.

“I don’t agree with that. Bam Aquino and the others, they were all given the chance,” Gordon said in a phone interview with reporters.

“I can understand where people would say we were leading the charge, but I don’t think we can say that we didn’t give anybody a chance,” he said.

Hontiveros and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also raised concerns about allowing someone who was not a resource person to speak at the hearing.

They were referring to Ferdinand Topacio, a lawyer representing the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, who was allowed to read a statement accusing former President Benigno Aquino III and former Health Secretary Janette Garin of plunder in connection with the P3.5-billion dengue immunization program.

“I also thought it was improper to let a nonresource speaker speak before the hearing and let the individual cast aspersions against personalities and then ask the committee to look for evidence to support the unsubstantiated claims,” Hontiveros said.

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“That is unwanted,” Drilon said.

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Dengue Vaccine, Dengvaxia controversy, Janet Garin, Philippine news updates, Richard Gordon
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