PAO to file 10 new Dengvaxia complaints at DOJ on Tuesday

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 29 2018 09:57 PM | Updated as of Oct 29 2018 10:20 PM

MANILA - Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta on Monday said her office will file 10 more new complaints against former Health Secretary Janette Garin and other respondents in connection with deaths allegedly due to the Dengvaxia vaccine.

“Bukas po, magfifile kami ng sampu pang kaso,” she told reporters after the hearing on the justice department’s probe into the second batch of Dengvaxia complaints.

“Pito galing sa pamilya ng Cebu. Pitong pamilya po, papunta na rito sa Maynila. Isang pamilya ng pulis at dalawang taga-Luzon. Bukas po ‘yan,” she added, giving more details about the third batch of complainants.

PAO is blaming Garin for procuring 3.5 billion pesos worth of  Dengvaxia vaccines even when it was still under clinical trial.

Two earlier batches of complaints – a total of 17 individual complaints – have been filed against Garin before the DOJ.

Apart from Garin, among those charged were officials of Sanofi Pasteur, Inc., the maker of Dengvaxia vaccine; Zuellig Pharma Corporation, the distributor; officials of the Department of Health and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine who conducted the clinical trials; and some officials of the Food and Drug Administration who approved the Dengvaxia’s certificate of product registration.

But the third batch of complaints to be filed on Tuesday will also implead current Health Secretary Francisco Duque III over the death of a policeman.

Aside from charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, violation of the Anti-Torture Act and the Consumer Proctection Act, the complaints will also include obstruction of justice.

“Si Sec. Duque, kasama na siya diyan. Itong kay Arugay, yung pulis, hindi siya nagbibigay ng masterlist kaya hindi namomonitor ‘yung mga pulis, ‘yung mga nabakunahang pulis,” Acosta explained, referring to the case of Quezon City cop, Senior Police Officer 2 Vicente Arugay, Jr. who allegedly died after getting Dengvaxia shots. 

Former Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa, however, said in March that Arugay died of leptospirosis.

The acting head of the PNP Health Service also pointed out that Arugay was not on the list of Dengvaxia recipients as he was 50 years old and beyond the 9 to 45-year-old bracket, the age group required to receive the vaccine.

Former Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial will not be included in the list of respondents because according to Acosta, she will serve as state witness.

Asked why PAO opted to file the complaints by batches and not simultaneously, Acosta explained the deaths didn’t occur at the same time and they are still in the process of waiting for results from the autopsies, laboratory tests and forensic examination.

“Ito, sabi ng mga eksperto limang taon, sampung taon hanggang dalawampung taon, may epekto ang Dengvaxia. Kaya parusa ng langit sa amin 'to. Pati kami nato-torture na rin. Dahil ang hirap nito, hindi lang isang araw ang kamatayan. May mamamatay sa susunod na buwan, sa isang linggo. Pati kami torture na,” she said.

PAO has filed a request for the Supreme Court to form Dengvaxia civil and criminal courts to handle the cases they have filed and intend to file.

She said almost 20 civil cases have so far been filed before Quezon City courts.

“Sana nga po, aksyunan na ng Supreme Court kahit wala pang regular na chief justice,” she said.