Dengvaxia death? Parents sue Duque for obstruction of justice

Rappler.com
The parents say the release of documents could have prevented their daughter's death

DENGVAXIA. DOH secretary Francisco Duque III attends the congress hearing on the controversial government Dengvaxia immunization program on February 26, 2018. File photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines  – The parents of a child who died after being vaccinated with dengue vaccine Dengvaxia filed a complaint on Tuesday, April 24, against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III for alleged obstruction of justice.

The parents of 13-year-old Abbie Hedia from Muntinlupa City filed the complaint against Duque before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday.

Hedia is one of the 47 deaths documented by the Public Attorneys’ Office (PAO), which they are attributing to the vaccine despite heavy contentions from pathologists and infectious diseases specialists in the country.

According to Hedias’ complaint, Duque obstructed justice when he refused to provide PAO a masterlist of all children vaccinated with Dengvaxia. They said the DOJ’s order to PAO to investigate Dengvaxia entitles the public lawyers to the masterlist.

Hedia received the vaccine in November last year, and died on February 10, 2018. The parents said that the masterlist could have been used to properly monitor treatment of children, and could have prevented Hedia’s death.

“There is no doubt that Sec. Duque is effectively and willfully suppressing, and concealing the records of the victims and the cadavers of the deceased victims – a matter that is subject to criminal investigations by several government agencies including PAO,” the complainants said.

The complainants also cited Duque’s Administrative Order No. 2018-0011 dated March 27, 2018, which laid out guidelines for the release of Dengvaxia-related documents. They also questioned Duque’s order to conduct autopsy on the children who died.

“It is quite intriguing and it even entails a glaring conflict of interest that the same department that spearheaded the mass inoculation of Dengvaxia in gross disregard of the safety, health and life of the recipients, mostly minors from poor families would be the same department that will conduct the autopsies on the bodies of the victims,” the complaint read.

The Hedias also filed a complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide against Duque, former health secretary Janette Garin, and 34 others over their daughter’s death. – Rappler.com