Garin: Why is PAO suing health workers injecting anti-Covid vaccines?
MANILA, Philippines — The complaints filed by Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) against persons who administer anti-COVID-19 vaccines constitute an injustice to health personnel who work hard to fight the coronavirus.
This is the statement of Iloilo 1st District Representative Janette Garin during the hearing of House of Representatives on the proposed P34 billion budget for 2024 of Department of Justice (DOJ).
Garin was questioning why PAO is supposedly still running after health workers who are implementing government’s vaccination program.
PAO is an attached agency of DOJ.
“So does this mean that the PAO is still going after scientists, our true experts, our vaccinologists, which are few, by the way?” the lawmaker asked Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla.
“Because if that is true, Secretary, do you think that is justice or injustice to our experts, scientists, doctors, health workers, and government employees?” she went on.
In response, Remulla confirmed there were cases filed by PAO relating to this matter during the previous administration.
“The primary duty of the PAO is actually to defend the poor in criminal cases,” the secretary clarified.
“However, people who are not represented also have the right to counsel. That is why PAO attends to different needs of Filipinos for that matter,” he said.
“But as a matter of policy, of course, we do not want a government office fighting another government office, or at least the clear policy is really for them to defend,” he noted.
Garin considers the charges from PAO submitted by the prosecutor general’s office as mere “copy-paste” versions of the previous complaints against persons involved in the inoculation programs that used Dengvaxia vaccine.
The vaccine was distributed to fight dengue during the time of late President Benigno Aquino in 2016.
She was the former Department of Health (DOH) secretary at that time.
The lawmaker is facing complaints from relatives of individuals who died after developing severe fever reportedly due to complications from Dengvaxia.
The relatives were legally assisted by PAO.
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