MANILA - A lawyer for the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption denied Tuesday allegations that political ambition may be behind the case they filed against former government officials in connection with the Dengvaxia controversy.
Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said there is no truth to former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's statement yesterday that the purpose of the cases filed by the VACC is to "generate recall" for the 2019 midterm elections.
"Ako po mismo, hindi ako tatanggap ng kahit anong puwesto sa gobyerno. Masaya na po ako sa ginagawa namin sa VACC na 'yung mga katiwalian po ay aming tinutugis," he told DZMM, stressing that Aquino should just stick to the substantial issues in the case.
Topacio added that even Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Rueda-Acosta, who has been handling cases of parents claiming their kids died of complications caused by Dengvaxia, is not planning to join the senatorial race next year.
Aquino, after facing preliminary investigation before the Justice Department yesterday, defended the Dengvaxia mass vaccination program where over 800,000 school kids were injected with the controversial vaccine under his watch.
He denied allegations that the purchase of the French-made vaccine was rushed and was connected to the 2016 elections. He also insisted that its benefits outweigh the risks, citing studies from the World Health Organization and a medical journal.
"Ang mga ginagawa bang pananakot e nakabuti sa lipunan? Ewan ko lang kung may koneksiyon 'yan sa eleksiyon next year. Baka ngayon pa lang kailangan mag-generate ng recall," the former President added in a press conference yesterday.
Aquino, former Health Secretary Janette Garin, and former Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad are facing charges for criminal negligence, reckless imprudence, technical malversation, causing undue injuries, and violations of the Procurement Law.
State prosecutors will determine whether or not the complaint filed by the VACC will be forwarded to the courts.