Transcripts of Congress hearings not admitted as evidence in case vs Garin | Inquirer News

Transcripts of Congress hearings not admitted as evidence in case vs Garin

/ 01:08 AM November 22, 2023

Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin

Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, a former health secretary, faces a charge of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide in connection with the use of Dengvaxia dengue vaccine. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 229 has refused to admit as evidence the transcripts of congressional hearings on the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine in the case filed against Iloilo First District Rep. Janette Garin and nine others.

Garin, who was health secretary in the administration of President Benigno Aquino III, is facing a charge of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide in connection with the use of Dengvaxia, which several groups and lawyers alleged led to the deaths of several immunized children and adults.


The prosecution filed a motion to include the following transcripts:

  • hearings conducted on Dec. 11 and 14, 2017; Jan. 22, 2018; Feb. 6, 2018; and March 13, 2018 conducted by the Senate blue ribbon committee, Committee on Health and Demography, and Committee on Finance
  • a hearing conducted on Feb. 26, 2018 by the House  Committee on Good Government and Public Accounts and the Committee on Health, including Committee Report No. 368 and Committee Report No. 1336

READ: Janette Garin pleads not guilty in homicide case involving Dengvaxia

In denying the motion of the prosecution, acting Presiding Judge Maria Luisa Lesle Gonzales-Betic admitting the transcripts as evidence would strip Garin and other accused individuals of due process or the right to be heard in court.

“This Court cannot, however, take judicial notice of the ‘truth of all matters stated therein’.  To rule otherwise would violate the right of all the accused to due process of law as they were not given the opportunity allotted to them by the Constitution to confront and assail the witness presented against them in the said Committee Hearings,” Betic said in her order.

“What the Court can take Judicial Notice of is the fact that hearings in aid of legislation and findings therein cannot be a substitute to the duty of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt based on competent and relevant evidence,” she added.

The testimonies of congressional hearing resource persons Dr. Fausto Quizon Jr. and Dr. Anthony C. Leachon were also not admitted.

“It must be pointed out that the TSN [transcript of stenographic notes] was already ruled to be inadmissible due to the failure of the Prosecution to attach the same to the Judicial Affidavit of Dr. Fausto R. Quizon, Jr. and later, on ground of incompetency of Dr. Anthony C. Leachon to testify on the same,” the order stated.


The court also denied the motion of the prosecution to take judicial notice of the Issuance of Certificate of Product Registrations; Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Circular No. 2013-004; FDA Decision dated Dec. 29, 2017; and the FDA Order dated Dec. 21, 2018.

According to the court, the issue of whether Sanofi Pasteur, the manufacturer of the vaccine, committed wrongdoing can be settled during the trial proper.

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“Whether Sanofi Pasteur Inc. failed to comply with the FDA requirements is a matter which must be proved through evidence during the trial of these cases.  These documents cannot speak for itself,” the court said.

TAGS: Dengvaxia, Janette Garin, reckless imprudence resulting in homicide

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