VACC files charges versus Aquino, Garin, several others
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), whose members have been named by President Duterte to key government posts, on Monday brought a criminal complaint in the Department of Justice against former President Benigno Aquino III and several others over the P3.5-billion Dengvaxia fiasco.
The group said Aquino and the other individuals responsible for using some 830,000 schoolchildren as “guinea pigs” for the newly developed dengue vaccine should be held liable for multiple homicides and physical injuries, graft, technical malversation and violation of the government procurement law.
“They should be held to account for the natural and probable consequences of their acts … Irrefutably, some deaths and dengue shocks are linked to Dengvaxia,” read the 17-page complaint filed by VACC lawyer Manuelito Luna and Dr. Francisco Cruz.
Suspended lawyer Eligio Mallari, who was recently barred by the Supreme Court from practicing his profession for two years, was also listed as complainant representing the Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc.
Besides Aquino, named respondents in the case were former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, former Health Secretary Janette Garin and several former and incumbent officials of the Department of Health (DOH).
Likewise included in the complaint were the senior executives of the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur, the maker of Dengvaxia.
The VACC said Aquino and his fellow respondents “anomalously and illegally funded and procured the Dengvaxia vaccine and ill-advisedly, thoughtlessly and imprudently implemented the dengue immunization” project of the DOH.
The group previously claimed that several children had died of severe dengue and its complications after receiving the vaccine.
The group alleged 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 Liberal Party in the May 2016 elections.
The complainants pointed out that the purchase of the vaccine was approved by Aquino and Abad even if the program had no allocation in the 2016 national budget.
“Undeniably, [they] had caused the procurement of millions of doses of the Dengvaxia vaccine … even if the same has no appropriation cover … In the process, they used innocent children as guinea pigs,” the group said.
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