Ona refutes Aquino regarding Sanofi meeting about Dengvaxia
Former Health Secretary Enrique Ona repeatedly denied on Monday that he was with former President Benigno Aquino III when the latter met with officials of Sanofi Pasteur in November 2014 in connection with the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.
During the continuation of the Senate probe on the aborted P3.5-billion anti-dengue vaccination program, Sen. Richard Gordon asked about Aquino’s supposed claim that he was with Ona when he met with Sanofi officials in Bejing.
“That’s a complete surprise to me po because I was in in Beijing in August,” Ona said. “I looked over my passport, kasi ho there was this insinuation that I was with the President in Beijing. Wala po yun….”
“You were not with the President when he talked with Sanofi (officials)? So the President was not giving us an accurate statement na kayo ay kasama nya nung sya’y nakipag meeting sa Sanofi? Hindi po tama yung sinabi ng Presidente?” the senator asked again.
“Kung yun po ang sinabing date, tama po, wala. I was not in Beijing on that month and it was only in August of 2014 that I was in Beijing and I was not with the President,” Ona said.
While in Beijing in August 2014, the former Health Secretary said he could not also recall meeting with Sanofi officials.
During Gordon’s questioning also, Ona disclosed that he was asked to take a leave for three weeks before he resigned in December, 2014.
“Couple of weeks, mga three weeks yata po yun and the reason for that was because I really actually already resigned but I was just asked to say mag-leave na,” he said.
Asked if he had disagreements with the former president, Ona said: “Meron po.”
The botched anti-dengue vaccine program was first implemented in early 2016 or more than a year after Ona had resigned from his post. /cbb
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