DOJ, PAO settle conflict of interest issue
MANILA, Philippines — After claims of conflict of interest were finally cleared out by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), the investigation of the cases involving the controversial Dengvaxia vaccines will now proceed.
The DOJ and its attached agency, PAO, released a joint statement on Thursday, clearing out PAO’s previous concern of conflict of interest against Justice Undersecretary Jesse Hermogenes Andres.
Criminal complaints were filed by several parents of children who died allegedly after getting jabbed with Dengvaxia against former officials of the Department of Health (DOH) and distributors and manufacturers of the vaccine for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.
Former Health Secretary Janette Garin was one of the respondents and was represented by Andres’ law firm Andres Marcelo Padernal Guerrero & Paras Law Office.
The PAO, which endorsed the Dengvaxia case to the DOJ panel of prosecutors, raised the issue of conflict of interest against Andres, who as undersecretary was tasked to oversee the DOJ’s National Prosecution Services (NPS).
But this was recanted in the joint statement saying as early as June 2022, before Andres even headed the NPS, his law firm already withdrew as counsel for Garin. It added that the undersecretary inhibited himself from the case on July 2, 2022, or within one week from his assumption of office.
“The DOJ and PAO will guard against being swayed by undue accusations coming from its clients,” said the statement. “There is indeed no place for undue influence coming from litigants in the legal process.”
This comes after PAO Chief Persida Acosta denied rumors that her agency filed a motion in court accusing the entire NPS of bias and conflict of interest.
Acosta denies reports PAO wants to take over DOJ prosecution in Dengvaxia cases
Janette Garin pleads not guilty in homicide case involving Dengvaxia
Ombudsman junks raps vs Acosta, Erfe over Dengvaxia issue
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