Garin faces fresh criminal complaint over Dengvaxia

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 05 2018 04:22 PM | Updated as of Jan 15 2019 05:04 PM

FILE PHOTO: Former Health Secretary Janette Garin during the senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the Dengvaxia vaccine on Monday, January 22, 2018. George Calvelo, ABS CBN News

MANILA - The Public Attorney's Office on Thursday filed another criminal complaint against former Health Secretary Janette Garin over a dengue vaccination drive that raised safety concerns.

The PAO lodged the complaint for torture and reckless imprudence resulting in homicide on behalf of the families of 4 children who died after allegedly receiving the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

Also tagged in the complaints were health officials and doctors Vicente Belizario Jr., Kenneth Hartigan Go, Gerardo Bayugo and Lyndon Lee-Suy; and several executives of French drug-maker Sanofi. 

The complaint did not include former President Benigno Aquino III pending the findings of a Senate inquiry into the Dengvaxia program, said PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta. 

More than 830,000 Filipino schoolchildren were injected with Sanofi's Dengvaxia vaccine in the world's first public dengue immunization program.

But the country stopped the sale and distribution of Dengvaxia in December after Sanofi warned the vaccine could worsen symptoms for people who had not previously been infected with the virus.

The PAO in February filed a civil case against Sanofi, Garin, former undersecretary Kenneth Uy, and other officials. 

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption meanwhile lodged a criminal complaint and a separate election case against Garin and Aquino. 

Garin maintained that the criminal charges against her had no basis, saying there is no direct link between the symptoms found in Dengvaxia recipients and their deaths. 

She threatened to take the PAO to court for malicious prosecution.

With reports from Dominic Almelor and Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News