PAO denies accusing gov’t of bribing Dengvaxia victims’ kin
MANILA, Philippine – A Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) statement on Friday said its chief, Persida Rueda-Acosta did not accuse the government of bribing families of Dengvaxia victims in exchange for dropping criminal charges.
PAO issued the statement after Acosta reportedly accused Health Secretary Franciso Duque III and other officials linked to the Dengvaxia mess of allegedly paying off victims’ families P50,000 to drop charges against them.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said that Acosta should substantiate her allegations against past and present health officials.
In a letter to Panelo dated Jan. 30, PAO said: “To set the records straight, Chief Public Attorney Persida V. Rueda-Acosta did not say that it was the government who had been bribing Dengvaxia victims.”
“It was the parents who experienced personally the act of DOH (Department of Health) affiliates of Sec. Francisco Duque III who are offering the amount of P50,000 to ensure that the case will just be dropped,” the PAO added.
In December 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stopped the distribution of Dengvaxia after Sanofi Pasteur admitted that immunization could be dangerous to those who have not been infected with the dengue virus prior to vaccination.
A legislative inquiry has summoned former government officials to determine their possible liability.
Several former and current health officials, as well as manufacturers and local distributors of Dengvaxia are over 30 complaints for the deaths of recipients of the anti-dengue vaccine. / gsg
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