Duque to seek Duterte advice on Dengvaxia raps

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 23 2018 11:51 AM

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MANILA - Health Secretary Francisco Duque on Monday said he will speak to President Rodrigo Duterte and Solicitor General Jose Calida regarding matters connected to the Dengvaxia controversy.

Duque, who is facing charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and violation of the Anti-Torture law along with several other officials of the Department of Health, said he was consulting with his lawyer if he should file counter charges, but he would also "take this up with the President."

"I happen to be the alter ego of the President when it comes to public health and in the management of the Department of Health, which is under the office of the President," Duque told ANC's Headstart.

He said he has not yet had the chance to speak with Duterte after the criminal charges against him were filed, but he hopes to do so as soon as the chief executive's schedule allows it.

The mother and father of 13-year-old Abbie Hedia, assisted by the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), filed the criminal complaint before the Department of Justice last week.

Duque has described as "malicious and oppressive" the complaint which was filed by the parents of 13-year-old Abbie Hedia, who died months after she was given Dengvaxia shots, assisted by the Public Attorney's Office (PAO).

He said if Duterte orders PAO Chief Persida Acosta to drop his name from the complaint, then there would be "no need" for counter charges to be filed.

REFUND STRATEGY, LEGAL ACTIONS VS SANOFI

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Duque said he would also be meeting with the country's top lawyer to map out a strategy in filing a potential civil and even a criminal case against Dengvaxia-maker, Sanofi Pasteur.

The French pharmaceutical firm, which admitted last year that their drug could lead to more severe symptoms of dengue if given to those who have not had the mosquito-borne disease before, paid an initial P1.16 billion refund last month for unused vaccine doses.

However, the company repeatedly declined to reimburse the Philippine government the whole P3 billion spent on the vaccine, as it maintained that the drug was effective.