Palace: Stop politicizing Dengvaxia issue in court of public opinion
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Saturday urged the public to stop politicizing the Dengvaxia issue as it also expressed hope that justice will finally be served for those who died allegedly because of the anti-dengue vaccine.
This was the appeal of Palace Spokesperson Salvador Panelo after the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted former Health Secretary Janette Garin and 19 others over the Dengvaxia controversy.
According Panelo, the “wheels of justice have began to grind for the victims and families of children who died allegedly because of the Dengvaxia vaccine.”
“Now that the legal process has taken its course, we wish everyone would finally stop politicizing the issue in the court of public opinion, noting that such exercise has only caused an unnecessary fear on the part of parents for good and creditworthy health programs of the government to the detriment of innocent children,” Panelo said in a statement.
“We hope that true justice and peace will be attained as this is the only way we can deliver proper closure to the victims of the vaccination initiative and their families,” he added.
According to the DOJ, Garin and the other respondents “have exhibited inexcusable lack of precaution and foresight when they facilitated with undue haste, the registration and purchase of Dengvaxia and used the vaccine in implementing a school-based dengue mass immunization program.”
The DOJ added that Garin and the others “totally disregarded the identified risks and adverse effects of the vaccine.”
Panelo said Garin and the other respondents should “welcome” this latest development in the Dengvaxia controversy as a chance to clear their names and prepare their defense.
“They should welcome this latest development as an opportunity to clear their names and raise whatever defense they have in relation to the matter before a court of law,” Panelo said.
“As always, we will not interfere in the proceedings save for the DOJ which is mandated by law to prosecute accused felons,” he added.
Health officials meanwhile said no confirmed deaths could be directly attributed to the use of the Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine. /muf
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