MANILA (UPDATE) - Party-list group Gabriela on Friday filed before the Office of the Ombudsman graft charges against former President Benigno Aquino III and his former Cabinet secretaries on the controversial P3.5-billion dengue vaccination program.
Charged along with Aquino were former Health Secretary Janette Garin, former Budget Secretary Butch Abad, and former Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa.
It is the second complaint filed against Aquino and his former officials in connection with the dengue vaccination controversy involving French drug maker Sanofi Pasteur's Dengvaxia.
The firm had warned last month that the drug may cause more severe symptoms if given those who have yet to contract the mosquito-borne disease.
Former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Augusto Syjuco last week filed mass murder and plunder complaints against the former officials over the vaccine mess.
Aquino's former deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Friday that Aquino would continue to face allegations hurled at him.
"The former president’s attendance at the Senate committee hearing has proven one thing: he takes accountability seriously and will continue to answer any and all allegations thrown at him," she said.
Aquino earlier told the Senate that when his administration implemented the program, he was not told of Dengvaxia's possible risks.
In the latest case, Grade 5 and 6 pupils from Valenzuela City who were vaccinated with Dengvaxia and their mothers joined Gabriela as complainants.
Gabriela Rep. Emmi De Jesus said aside from a graft case, they also want the Ombudsman to investigate officials for violation of the Government Procurement Law.
“Can you imagine 'yung parents na hindi nila alam, marami sa kanila talagang pagka-inject... after hours ay nag-nosebleed,” she said.
Also impleaded were Sanofi Pasteur officials namely Vice President Guillaume Leroy, CEO Olivier Brandicourt, Medical Director Dr. Ruby Dizon, Asia Pacific Head Thomas Triomphe and Country Chair Carlito Realuyo.
“Even though mga private ang mga ito, kasama po 'yun sa pagkaso natin dahil may tinitingnan tayong conspiracy between public officials and private individuals,” Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said.
The complaint also include Jane and John Does which represent health officials under the Duterte administration who could not be named yet, Gabriela said.
A 13-year-old girl who was vaccinated with Dengvaxia showed the media rashes on her hands, but it is still unclear if she has dengue.
Her mother said the rashes appeared after the girl completed her vaccination on Nov. 22.
“Hindi naman ho ako nagagalit, kaya lang sana nagtanong muna sila kung na-dengue o wala pa, kasi mas delikado pala 'yung hindi pa na-dengue,” the mother said.