MANILA - Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday said senators are unlikely to pass the Senate Blue Ribbon committee draft report on the Dengvaxia mess because the report is nothing but black propaganda against former President Benigno Aquino III.
Trillanes said Senator Richard Gordon's announcement of the draft, which sought criminal charges against Aquino and his aides for the P3.5 billion dengue vaccination program, is an "obvious publicity stunt."
"It’s just black propaganda…It won’t even reach that point where it will be voted on. I doubt if Mr. Gordon would be able to get this thing passed through the period of interpellation. It will not stand the scrutiny of the senators," he told ANC's Headstart.
Gordon, chairman of the Senate panel, said the Dengvaxia program was implemented with "undue haste" by Aquino, former health secretary Janette Garin, and former budget secretary Florencio Abad.
He said when Aquino met with executives of Dengvaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur in separate instances in Beijing and Paris before the approval of the Dengvaxia vaccination drive, "a signal was projected to the rank and file that Sanofi Pasteur was favored by the President."
But Trillanes believes Aquino meeting Sanofi Pasteur officials was in itself not a crime. "If there weren’t any deaths, would you be charging him for impropriety?" he asked.
"I believe we don’t have definitive information yet to warrant charges against these public officials because if it’s really true, then that’s basically genocide—if you really know that this is dangerous and yet you administered it to the pubic…But that’s not the case in this one," he said.
He added, charges must instead be filed against Sanofi Pasteur officials, who he said are guilty of mental dishonesty because they did not divulge complete information about the drug prior to the government's procurement, "after getting more information definitively."
The Gordon-led hearings failed to prove the French drug-maker's claim that Dengvaxia would lead to worse cases of dengue if injected to those who did not have the mosquito-borne disease before, said Trillanes, who admitted having his children inoculated with the drug.
"I believe [Gordon] just based his conclusions on the statements of Persida Acosta," he said, referring to the chief of the Public Attorney's Office.
Trillanes, a staunch critic of the administration, said this draft report "cannot be taken isolation" because it happened within the context of other things such as Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno being "under fire" and Senator Leila de Lima being incarcerated.