QC court orders consolidation of Dengvaxia-related criminal cases

QC court orders consolidation of Dengvaxia-related criminal cases

/ 10:18 AM December 15, 2023

QC court orders consolidation of Dengvaxia-related criminal cases

In this June 4, 2018 file photo, former Health Secretary Janette Garin attends a preliminary hearing on the Dengvaxia issue, together with former Budget Secretary Butch Abad and former President Noynoy Aquino at DOJ. (INQUIRER file photo / MARIANNE BERMUDEZ)

MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QCRTC) has ordered state prosecutors to consolidate and refile 35 criminal cases related to the deaths of children inoculated by Dengvaxia vaccine.

From June to August 2023, prosecutors filed 35 separate cases of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and reckless imprudence resulting in serious physical injuries against former Health Secretary Janette Garin and 17 other officials and doctors of the Department of Health.


The case was for the death of several children who received the Dengvaxia vaccine on various dates and doses.


Five of the 18 accused filed separate motions to quash, asking for the dismissal of the Information or case filed against them on the following grounds:

1. Sandiganbayan, not the trial court, has jurisdiction to try the case, considering the salary grade of the accused.

2. There should only be one case instead of 35, following the Ivler doctrine on reckless imprudence cases.

3. Violation of their right to speedy trial

4. There are no living minors that will require special attention and protection from the family court since the minors are already dead, even before the preliminary investigations.

In a 14-page order promulgated December 7, 2023, QCRTC Branch 229 said:


“This Court does not find each inoculation of the minor-victim as a separate reckless act being repeated on different occasions, at different places and time, but a single reckless imprudence act resulting to multiple deaths and/or injuries of the minor victims.”

The court said, regardless of the different profiles of the minor victims and different occasions of inoculation, it all stemmed from the implementation of the dengue mass vaccination program for school children.

Regarding jurisdiction, QCRTC pointed to Supreme Court Administrative Matter No. 20-06-20-MTCC, transferring the Dengvaxia cases to the Family Court in Quezon City.

The court affirmed the authority of state prosecutors to file the case instead of the Ombudsman since there was no damage to the government mentioned in the charge sheet.

“It follows that the instant case is not cognizable by the Sandiganbayan,” the court said.

Regarding the right to speedy disposition of the case, the court said the accused should have filed the appropriate motion within the time required by law.

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On the other arguments Garin and other accused raised, the court said they are a “matter of defenses that can properly be ventilated in a full-blown trial.”

TAGS: Dengvaxia, Garin

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