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AQUINO, ABAD FACE SECOND ‘VACCINE’ CASE

(Photo from Facebook | @noynoyaquinoIII)

 

QUEZON CITY (via PhilAmPress) — A second criminal complaint has been filed against former President Benigno “Noynoy” S. Aquino III before the Office of the Ombudsman in Quezon City in connection with the alleged anomalous purchase of P3.5 billion worth of dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.

 

Gabriela party-list Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas charged Aquino with violation of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”

 

Charged with Aquino were former Health Secretary Janette Garin, former Budget Secretary Florencio Butch Abad, and former Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa.

 

This developed as the Department of Justice (DOJ)  issued an Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order (ILBO) against former President Aquino, some of his Cabinet members, and key Sanofi Pasteur executives in connection with the controversial P3.5 billion dengue immunization program of the Department of Health (DOH).

 

In a memorandum, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II directed Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente to instruct all immigration officers in the country’s airports and seaports to be on the lookout to prevent attempts of Aquino and others to leave the country.

 

Placed under the ILBO were former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, former Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, former Health Secretary Janette Garin, Guillaume Leroy, Olivier Brandicourt, Ruby Dizon, Thomas Triomphe and Carlito Realuyo.

 

Aguirre issued an ILBO after militant group Gabriela and parents of children injected with anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia filed graft charges before the Office of the Ombudsman.

 

Aguirre said that considering the gravity of the charges, there is a “strong probability” that the persons may leave the country.

 

“We thus deem the issuance of an ILBO against the subject persons prudent in order to at least monitor the itineraries of their flight, travel, and/or whereabouts,” said Aguirre.

 

 Earlier, Aguirre ordered National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Dante Gierran to “conduct investigation and case build-up over the alleged danger to public health arising from the P3.5 billion anti-dengue vaccination drive of the DOH and Sanofi Pasteur and if evidence so warrants, to file appropriate charges thereon.”

 

Aguirre required the NBI to submit a status report on their investigation regarding the issue, but did not give the NBI a timeframe on their probe.

 

He said the probe would look into whether government officials should be held liable for the seemingly rushed procurement of the vaccine and the immunization of more than 700,000 children.

 

 Congresswomen de Jesus and Brosas  had earlier filed a petition for mandamus before the Supreme Court (SC) to compel the government to provide free consultations and medical services to children who were injected with the vaccine distributed by Sanofi Pasteur (Sanofi).

 

Sanofi has cautioned the prescription of Dengvaxia to patients who have not had the virus in the past, such that it may cause severe diseases in the long run.

 

After six years of studying clinical data, Sanofi said it has found that Dengvaxia was only beneficial in the prevention of dengue fever to those who have already suffered from the other serotypes of the virus.

 

Former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General and erstwhile Iloilo congressman Augusto Syjuco, Jr. earlier filed charges against Aquino and former Department of Health Secretary Janet Garin for mass murder and plunder over the Dengvaxia scam.

 

The DOH, through Health Secretary Francisco Duque II, has ordered the suspension of the vaccine program, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered Sanofi to stop the sale, distribution, and marketing of Dengvaxia.

 

The Gabriela partylist  filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking to compel the officials of the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to provide free medical services and treatment to children injected with the controversial anti-dengue Dengvaxia vaccine.

 

In a 42-page petition for mandamus, Gabriela Rep. Emmi De Jesus and the Association for the Rights of Children in Southeast Asia (ARCSEA) asked the Supreme Court to order the respondents to publicly disseminate on a regular basis the report of the task force created and designated to monitor and review the school-based immunization program involving Dengvaxia and submit the same to the House of Representatives and Senate committees on health for monitoring.

 

The petitioners said the government agencies should monitor children in all villages and regions who were injected with the vaccine.

 

The agencies should also provide free services including, but not limited to, medical check-ups, consultations, medical treatment, and blood tests, the petitioners said.

 

The petitioners also asked that these free medical services be continued until it would have been determined and declared by competent medical and/or scientific experts that the threats brought by the Dengvaxia vaccine have been minimized or eliminated.

 

“These free medical services shall continue until it would have been determined and declared by competent medical and/or scientific experts that the threat/s brought about by the Dengvaxia vaccine have been minimized or eliminated,” the petitioners said.

 

The petitioners also asked the SC to direct the DOH, DepEd, and DILG to create a registry of children who were administered with the vaccine to facilitate the delivery of free healthcare services.

 

The petitioners said that the Dengvaxia issue is “of transcendental importance” and that the SC must compel key government agencies to provide free medical services and treatment for those who might suffer from severe dengue or any of the determined side effects of the anti-dengue vaccine.

 


“The horrors and risks being posed right now by the vaccine, which has been haphazardly administered to around 800,000 children, should be enough for the justices to act with urgency on our petition,” De Jesus said.

 

De Jesus said that while the current number of petitioners is only 70, there is a possibility that they would have additional petitioners since there are more families seeking Gabriela’s help.

 

Named as respondents on the petition are the current DOH Secretary Francisco Duque, DILG Acting Secretary Catalino Cuy, and DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones. Also included in the list are DOH-National Center for Disease Prevention and Control program director Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, and Food and Drug Administrative director general Nela Charade Puno.

 

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