Ex-DOH officials face complaints over Dengvaxia mess
MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has filed complaints against former Health Secretary and now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin and other Department of Health (DOH) officials before the Sandiganbayan, over the alleged realignment of public funds to purchase anti-dengue vaccines.
According to the Office of the Ombudsman, they have filed graft and technical malversation complaints against Garin, former DOH director Maria Joyce Ducusin, former Philippine Children’s Medical Center head Julius Lecciones, and former Health Undersecretary Kenneth Hartigan-Go after they supposedly conspired to rollout of the Dengvaxia vaccines from pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur.
Former Health Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo was included in the complaint, but only for graft or violation of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
In the complaints filed by the Ombudsman, they cited the claims of complainants that P3.356 billion were realigned in December 2015 for the procurement of Dengvaxia vaccines and its implementation of the school-based immunization program.
The anti-dengue vaccination program was initiated under the term of then president Benigno Aquino III — during which Garin was DOH secretary.
Among the complainants are Atty. Glenn Chong of Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, Atty. Eligio Mallari of Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution, Inc., Dr. Anthony Leachon and Dr. Clarito Cairo Jr.
This is not the first time that Garin has faced complaints over the implementation of the anti-dengue program.
In 2022, Garin pleaded not guilty over homicide cases filed by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).
In 2020, she and another former health secretary, Francisco Duque III, faced a several complaints after 99 victims supposedly died of severe dengue fever after being vaccinated with Dengvaxia.