Garin, Duque face new set of raps over Dengvaxia

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 10 2018 09:50 PM

MANILA - Parents of alleged Dengvaxia "victims" on Thursday filed a new set of complaints at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Assisted by the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), fresh complaints of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and torture were filed against former Health Secretary Janette Garin, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, other health officials, and officials and personnel of vaccine manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur and its distributor, Zuellig Pharma. 

Charges of obstruction of justice were also filed by the parents.

The complaints comprised the seventh to ninth cases filed by PAO over the Dengvaxia controversy.

“Alam pala nila na may side effects ito, bakit po pinili at napakalaking populasyon ang binakunahan,” PAO chief Atty. Persida Acosta said.

Mrs. Eboña called out Garin and Duque in an interview with reporters.

“Akala ko ang [Department of Health] aalagaan ang kabataan. Maawa kayo sa mga magulang, pinapalaki ang anak sa mabuting asal. Ikaw Garin, ikaw Duque, galit na galit ako sa inyo. Mayroon pa kaya kayong mukhang ihaharap sa aming mga magulang?” she asked.

The parents, meanwhile, urged President Rodrigo Duterte to include PAO's in-house forensic experts in the panel of Asian experts to be created by Malacañang that would look into deaths allegedly related to the vaccine.

Girlie Samonte, mother of Marc Joseph, a Dengvaxia “survivor,” said the PAO forensics team was able to obtain sufficient evidence to establish the link between the deaths and the vaccine.

“Anong ebidensya pa ang kailangan? Andyan ang PAO, andyan si Dr. Erwin Erfe (PAO forensics chief). Kung ebidensya lang, pwede naman si Pangulong Duterte kumausap sa PAO… Dapat isama ang PAO,” she said. 

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte decided to obtain the services of a foreign team due to the “conflicting testimonies” of PAO and Philippine General Hospital experts.

The innoculation of Dengvaxia to school children began during the term of President Benigno Aquino III while the immunization program cost government P3.5-billion. 

Duque halted the school-based immunization program after Sanofi Pasteur admitted the vaccine should only be given to those who have already contracted dengue because the illness may worsen in recipients who have no history of dengue.

The PAO Forensic Team, led by Dr. Erwin Erfe, had made public a ‘common pattern’ in the signs and symptoms of the deaths of the alleged victims, including enlargement of organs and extensive internal bleeding.