Acosta chides Duque: Be aggressive, not defensive, on Dengvaxia crisis

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 16 2018 01:08 PM

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Public Attorney's Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta on Friday chided Health Secretary Francisco Duque III for saying that investigations on Dengvaxia remain "inconclusive."

"Nagtataka ako bakit si Sec. Duque at si USec. (Enrique) Domingo laging ang liner nila ay hindi pa conclusive... Maging aggressive na kayo sa pagsagip sa mga bata, hindi 'yung defensive pa kayo, puro asa sa UP (University of the Philippines) na wala naman tissue (sample), na hindi naman pinagtiwalaan ng mga kamag-anak para sila ang mag autopsy sa mga namatay," Acosta said in an interview on DZMM.

PAO earlier claimed that 5 children who allegedly died due to dengue vaccine Dengvaxia showed a "pattern of death" based on the autopsies conducted by forensic experts.

The DOH, meantime, formed a dengue investigative task force composed of experts from the University of the Philippines and the Philippine General Hospital.

Last week, the UP-PGH panel said more tests need to be conducted
to link the deaths to Dengvaxia.

Duque earlier slammed Acosta for refusing to cooperate and share her team's findings and tissue samples with the DOH.

"Usec. Eric Domingo has written letters to them, but there’s no response. So what are they talking about? We wrote them letters asking to help each other,” he said.

Acosta said PAO is reluctant to work alongside the DOH, citing possible conflict of interest.

"Ang interes natin dito ay yung mga namatay (namatayan), hindi yung pansariling interes ng kung sino mang doktor o sino mang kumpanya," she said.

Last year, the Philippines recalled Dengvaxia from the market and cancelled the government's dengue immunization program after French drug maker Sanofi Pasteur admitted that the vaccine may cause severe dengue when administered to patients who never contracted the mosquito-borne disease.