Garin: Justice on Dengvaxia case should be based on science, not politics
MANILA, Philippines — “I will face this without fear because we know the truth.”
Former health chief and now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin said this Friday after state prosecutors formally indicted her and several others over the deaths of schoolchildren vaccinated with Dengvaxia.
“Science has proven over and over again that no deaths have been linked to the Dengvaxia vaccine. Almost the whole world is using it now and no case like ours has surfaced,” Garin insisted in a statement after the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced her indictment.
The accusation was based on the second batch of complaints against Garin and nine other officials of the Department of Health (DOH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and drug-maker Sanofi Pasteur.
But Garin said that from the first batch of complaints alone, six of the seven criminal cases filed against her have already been dismissed.
“The dismissals entail the cases’ lack of basis and substance,” Garin pointed out.
For the former DOH Secretary, the issue should not be politicized.
“Sa dami ng problema at isyu sa bansa, pilit pa rin binubuhay ang mga kasong walang basehan para manggipit lang at para pagtakpan ang mga mas importanteng usapin (With the many problems and issues in the country, baseless cases are being revived just to harass and obscure other more pressing issues),” Garin said.
“Hindi dapat bahiran ng pulitika ang hustisya at pampublikong kalusugan (Justice and public health should not be marred with politics),” she added.
Justice Assistant Secretary Neal Bainto said the DOJ prosecution panel found probable cause to charge Garin and several others for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.
Bainto said the DOJ panel found that there was an “inexcusable lack of precaution” on the part of Garin and the other respondent government officials in the “fast-tracking of the procurement process” for the Dengvaxia vaccine despite being aware of its low efficacy results and the potential risks associated with its use.
Edited by KGA
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