Complaint filed vs Aquino, 19 others over Dengvaxia mess
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc. (VPCI) on Monday filed a criminal complaint against former President Benigno Aquino III and 19 others for the reported deaths and serious illnesses of children inoculated with the anti-dengue Dengvaxia vaccine.
In a complaint filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ), Aquino, together with former Department of Budget and Management secretary Florencio Abad and former Department of Health secretary Janette Garin are among the respondents in a complaint for multiple homicide and physical injuries through negligence.
Others named in the complaint are incumbent DOH undersecretaries Carol Tanio, Gerardo Bayugo, Lilibeth David and Mario Villaverde; former retired undersecretaries Nemesio Gako, Vicente Belizario Jr. and Kenneth Hartigan-Go; assistant secretaries Lyndon Lee Suy and Nestor Santiago; former financial management service director Laureano Cruz; incumbent DOH directors Joyce Ducusin, May Wynn Belo, Leonila Gorgolon, Rio Magpantay, Ariel Valencia and Julius Lecciones; and Garin’s former executive assistant Yolanda Oliveros.
Also included are the senior executives of French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur, the developer and manufacturer of Dengvaxia; and Selling Pharma, DOH’s supplier of the vaccine.
“Since correlation between vaccine (Dengvaxia) and deaths have been established prima facie, respondents Aquino III, Abad, Garin and the other respondents should stand trial for criminal negligence,” Atty. Manuelito Luna, VACC lawyer told reporters.
“The respondents should be charged with multiple homicide and physical injuries through criminal negligence,” they added.
“The causal relationship between vaccine and deaths, dengue shock or adverse events, under the circumstances, could hardly be ignored. And the number of counts would be the number of subjects inoculated irrespective of the number of doses administered,” Luna added.
Complainants also accused Aquino and the other respondents of malversation of public funds and violations of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and R.A. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
“Undeniably, Aquino III, Abad, Garin and Lecciones had caused the procurement of millions of doses of the Dengvaxia vaccine for P3,500,000,000 even if the same has no appropriation cover and does not belong to the same allotment class, in connection with the implementation of the School-Based Immunization of Tetravalent Dengue Vaccine of the DOH on a mass scale in the National Capital Region (NCR), Calabarzon and Central Luzon. In the process, they used innocent children as ‘guinea pigs,’” the complaint stated.
They added that the vaccination project had no allocation in the 2016 national budget.
They further claimed that the mass vaccination program was part of a political maneuver to prop up the presidential campaign of then Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and other candidates of Aquino’s then ruling Liberal Party in the May 2016 elections.
Luna explained that they filed the case before the DOJ because they do not trust the Ombudsman. Besides, he said the DOJ has a concurrent jurisdiction to conduct the probe. /je
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.