PAO team rallies behind chief, says ‘Acosta’s conscience is clear’
MANILA, Philippines — A team of lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) on Wednesday insisted that PAO chief Persida Acosta’s “conscience is clear” amid the measles outbreak and the public’s loss of trust in vaccines.
The PAO team made the remark following the attacks against Acosta by opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros who urged her to resign and be accountable for “scaremongering” during her “politically motivated investigations” on Dengvaxia.
The team insisted that the Department of Health (DOH), which administered the Dengvaxia vaccines, should be blamed for the vaccine scare.
“The PAO Chief’s conscience is clear!… Ang mass indiscriminate vaccination (no blood test, no screening, no informed consent) ang pagbabakuna nila (ng Dengvaxia) ang naging dahilan ng pagkamatay ng mga biktima,” the team said.
“Sinong tumakot sa mga magulang at anak, hindi ba sila (DOH) (Who got the parents and children scared)?” the team added.
The team also cited a Commission on Audit (COA) report which showed that there was an “under distribution” of vaccines for measles, diphtheria, and rubella in 2017.
“Bomba laban sa DOH officials na nagkulang, pilit ibinabato sa PAO,” the team said.
The PAO team noted that the manufacturer of the Dengvaxia vaccine, Sanofi Pasteur, admitted in 2017 that individuals who received the vaccine would have “serious illnesses” if they have not contracted dengue in the past.
“Marunong pa ba sila sa gumawa ng gamot na Sanofi na umamin na (Do they know how to manufacture drugs. Sanofi made the admission)?” the team said.
The team added that PAO only opened its probe on the Dengvaxia issue on Dec. 19, 2017, and it was only in Feb. 2018 when the victims of the vaccine filed cases against those involved in administering Dengvaxia.
“Lumapit sila sa PAO para humingi ng tulong para sa hustisya. Kilabutan sana sila sa ginawa nila na pinag-experimentuhan ang halos isang milyong Pilipino (They approached PAO to seek help in obtaining justice. This should weigh on the perpetrators because they experimented on almost one million Filipinos),” the PAO team said. /ee
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