Duque, other DOH officials face criminal raps over Dengvaxia mess

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 19 2018 04:30 PM

MANILA - The parents of a teenager who died months after she was given Dengvaxia shots filed on Thursday fresh criminal complaints before the Justice department against past and present health officials.

The mother and father of 13-year-old Abbie Hedia, assisted by the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), filed charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and violation of the Anti-Torture law.

Among the Health officials included in the complaint are: 

- incumbent Secretary Francisco Duque III
- incumbent Undersecretary Dr. Gerardo Bayugo
- incumbent Undersecretary Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy
- former Secretary Janette Garin
- former Undersecretary Dr. Vicente Belizario, Jr.
- former Undersecretary Kenneth Hartigan-Go.

Officials of Dengvaxia-maker Sanofi Pasteur and pharmaceutical firm Zuellig Pharma Corp. were also included in the criminal raps, the 5th filed in connection with the Dengvaxia vaccination mess. 

The Hedia couple said their daughter got Dengvaxia shots on November 17 last year. The teen died at the Ospital ng Muntinlupa on February 10 this year.

Several other parents of children who died after getting Dengvaxia vaccines also came to the Justice Department, carrying photos of their kids. 

It has not been proven yet that Dengvaxia was the direct cause of the children's death but the parents believe the controversial vaccine has something to do with it. 

Dengvaxia has been administered to over 800,000 Filipino children as part of a program initiated during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III. 

The health scare started when Dengvaxia-maker Sanofi revealed that the vaccine may cause more severe symptoms on those who had not been previously infected by dengue.

PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said former President Aquino is not included in the charges they filed because the National Bureau of Investigation is doing a separate probe on this.--report by Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News