DOJ begins Dengvaxia probe against Aquino, 19 others
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice on Monday, February 26, formally begun its investigation into the possible criminal liabilities of former President Benigno Aquino III and 19 others in the approval of the purchase and use of Dengvaxia in a mass vaccination program in 2016.
Dengvaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur announced last November it found the vaccine to pose greater health risks for those immunized without having been exposed to Dengue prior to vaccination. (TIMELINE: Dengue immunization program for public school students)
Prosecutor Jorge Catalan Jr, through Office Order Number 439, announced the formation of a 4-person panel of prosecutors that will perform the preliminary investigation into the complaint filed in February by the groups Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and the Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rossane Balauag will chair the panel. Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Hazel Decena Valdez and assistant state prosecutors Consuelo Corazon Pazziuagan and Gino Paolo Santiago will serve as members.
The panel will determine if there is probable cause to indict the following respondents for multiple homicide and physical injuries, malversation of public funds, and violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and the Government Procurement Reform Act:
- Former President Benigno Aquino III
- Former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad
- Former Health Secretary Janette Garin
- Incumbent Health Undersecretary Carol Tanio
- incumbent Health Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo,
- incumbent Health Undersecretary Lilibeth David
- incumbent Health Undersecretary Mario Villaverde
- Retired Health Undersecretary Nemesio Gako
- Incumbent Health Undersecretary Vicente Belizario Jr
- Incumbent Health Undersecretary Kenneth Hartigan-Go
- Health Assistant Secretary Lyndon Lee Suy
- Health Assistant Secretary Nestor Santiago
- Former Financial Management Service Director Laureano Cruz
- Incumbent Health Director Joyce Ducusin
- Incumbent Health Director May Wynn Belo
- Incumbent Health Director Leonila Gorgolon
- Incumbent Health Director Rio Magpantay
- Incumbent Health Director Ariel Valencia
- Incumbent Health Director Julius Lecciones
- Yolanda Oliveros
The charge sheet also included senior executives from Sanofi Pasteur and Selling Pharma, the vaccine supplier of the Department of Health (DOH).
The anti-corruption groups had said Aquino and the other respondents should be held responsible for the implementation of the anti-dengue vaccination program. (READ: Aquino: What rush in Dengvaxia vaccination program?)
The DOH has since suspended the vaccination project. – Rappler.com