MANILA - Former Health Secretary Janette Garin on Tuesday challenged a former consultant to file charges against an alleged "mafia" in the health department.
Dr. Francis Cruz, a former consultant at the Department of Health, recently claimed that Garin and at least 17 other incumbent and former officials profited from the government's controversial P3.5-billion dengue vaccine program.
"Malaki pong kasinungalingan iyan kaya nga po maganda po na mag-file na po siya ng kaso. We welcome that para malinawan at matuldukan," Garin said in an interview with DZMM.
(That is a big lie so it would be good if he files a case. We welcome that so this issue could be clarified and put to rest.)
Sanofi Pasteur last year admitted Dengvaxia might cause more severe dengue symptoms if given to those who have not had the mosquito-borne disease.
This prompted the government to halt the immunization program, which was rolled out to some 830,000 public school students. Authorities also suspended the sale of Dengvaxia.
Cruz had said the alleged DOH mafia were involved in a conversion scheme, in which 90 percent of a project’s budget goes back to the agency and 10 percent goes back to the financier or suppliers.
The former consultant has not presented any document to back his claims, Garin said. She added that she has never worked with Cruz and that she had no idea on how he came up with his accusations.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has promised to probe the allegation once Cruz is able to present documentary evidence.