Dengvaxia cases vs DOH officials to continue, QC court rules

Dengvaxia cases vs DOH officials to continue, QC court rules

/ 05:40 AM December 17, 2023

Dengvaxia cases vs DOH officials to continue, QC court rules

Relatives of children whose deaths were being linked to Dengvaxia were brought to the DOJ by PAO during a hearing on the criminal case filed against former and incumbent health officials. (File photo by JOAN BONDOC / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QCRTC) has ordered prosecutors to consolidate and refile 35 new criminal cases filed by the families of children who died after receiving the Dengvaxia vaccine.

The 14-page order, dated Dec. 7, 2023, of Judge Maria Luisa Leslie Betic of QCRTC Branch 229 partially granted the quashal sought by five of the 18 respondent officials and doctors of the Department of Health, including former Secretary Jeanette Garin, who is now a representative from Iloilo.


“The Motion to Quash is partially granted … pursuant to the pronouncement in [the unrelated and separate case of] Ivler v. Modesto-San Pedro that there shall be no splitting of charges under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code and that only one Information shall be filed regardless of the number or severity of the consequences of the imprudent or negligent act,” the decision read.


“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 in multiple deaths and/or injuries of the minor victims,” Betic said in her ruling.

Thus, the judge ordered prosecutors to file a single information against all the accused for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and serious physical injuries.

However, relatives of the alleged victims said they would ask the court to reconsider the decision since it contradicts a Supreme Court directive in the related appeal of Dr. Socorro Lupisan, one of the physicians charged in the case.

The Supreme Court said: “Each case should be tried separately because they are not based on the same facts; they involve different victims whose medical histories are distinct from that of the other victims.”

Nonetheless, the QC court rejected the other arguments in the five respondents’ motion to quash, so the cases will continue to be heard.

The court dismissed the argument that the Sandiganbayan should have jurisdiction over the case, citing another Supreme Court ruling transferring Dengvaxia cases to a family court in Quezon City. It also upheld the authority of state prosecutors to file the case instead of the Ombudsman.


The court also dismissed respondents’ claim that they were deprived of their right to a speedy trial, the court emphasized that the accused should have raised concerns within the stipulated timeframe.

The court considered the other arguments raised by Garin and the accused as issues to be addressed during a full-blown trial.

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TAGS: dengue vaccines, Dengvaxia, Department of Health

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