Gatchalian to seek changes in Dengvaxia report vs Aquino
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said he might push to amend the criminal charges being proposed against former President Benigno Aquino III by a panel that investigated the P3.5 billion Dengvaxia controversy.
While he signed the draft report prepared by the Senate blue ribbon committee, Gatchalian said this did not mean that he would vote for it in the plenary.
“Hindi ibig sabihin tayo ay boboto dito sa report,” Gatchalian said at a forum in the Senate on Wednesday.
Asked then if he would move to amend the draft report when it reaches the plenary, Gatchalian said: “That’s probably one of the few amendments that I will be proposing.”
He said he had yet to study what specific amendments he would propose in lieu of the filing of criminal charges against Aquino.
The senator explained that when he affixed his signature in the draft report, he indicated that he was signing with reservations and that he might propose amendments on the floor.
“Sa aking pagbasa ng report at sa aking pag-analyze ng situation, si President Aquino ay hindi naman doctor . Sya ay nag re-rely sa advice ng kanyang mga Secretary lalo na pagdating sa medical and technical advices,” he said.
“Wala rin akong nakita sa report na sinadya ni President PNoy (Aquino) na i-administer ito dahil may mga hidden motives o merong bad faith. So, I’d assume that he administered Dengvaxia because it’s the advice of his Secretary of Health so yun po ang aking reservations…” Gatchalian said, referring to former health Secretary Janette Garin.
The senator branded Garin as the “prime mover” of Dengvaxia.
While Aquino may be held accountable because the anti-dengue mass vaccination was administered during his time, Gatchalian said the former president should not be held criminally liable as recommended by the panel.
“Hindi ako kumbinsido na criminally liable siya (Aquino). He might be accountable for the whole program because in the end, he’s the president and the president should be accountable for all the actions of the government,” he said.
“However, criminally liable? Hindi ako sang-ayon doon because in the end si Secretary Garin ang nag rekomenda,” said the senator.
The senator recalled that during the time of Aquino, his family was also accused of a crime without basis. But in the end, he said all charges against them were dismissed by the Sandiganbayan.
“So, naiitindihan ko. Mahirap maakusahan ng isang bagay na walang basehan at alam mong hindi mo ginawa. Kaya, in fairness to everyone, hindi ko matanggap na magawa yun sa ibang tao,” Gatchalian said.
At least 9 senators have already signed the draft report. Once it gathers the required majority signatures of committee members, the findings would be transmitted to the plenary for deliberations. /cbb
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