Aquino 'ready' to face more complaints amid Gordon Dengvaxia report

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The camp of former president Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday, April 11 assured the public that he will continue to face complaints against him over the Dengvaxia issue.

Earlier on Wednesday, Senate blue ribbon committee chair Richard Gordon released his draft report recommending criminal charges against Aquino, former budget secretary Florencio Abad, and former health secretary Janette Garin.

Abigail Valte, Aquino's spokesperson, said Aquino's "consistent participation in legislative investigations and other venues" shows he will face allegations against him.

"Former president Aquino has always demonstrated his readiness to answer questions about his decisions as president. He will continue to face whatever additional complaints are filed in connection with this matter," Valte said in a text message.

Aquino appeared before the Senate and House investigations and defended his move to purchase the dengue vaccine for P3.5 billion, as well as the apparent rush in the procurement. He has since denied corruption insinuations.

According to Gordon, Aquino's "greatest sin and transgression was to put the lives of Filipino children in grave peril. He simply did not care. Manhid siya at walang malasakit (He's insensitive and lacks compassion)."

Gordon's draft report recommended that Aquino be charged with violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as well as Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

One-sided?

In a separate statement on Wednesday, Garin slammed Gordon's recommendations and said his "narrative is full of inaccuracies and half truths," reflecting the senator's "long perceived pre-judgment of the issue."

Garin maintained there was no violation of the law, as she claimed the Aquino government only made a "timely and responsive" action.

"The report is one-sided because he has prejudged the case from the very beginning based on the inputs of vested interest parties who want to control the DOH. It was former Secretary Ona who declared that there was a dengue epidemic when he was Secretary of Health," Garin said.

"It is manifest that the anti-dengue program was important because Secretary designate Ubial continued and even expanded it! My conscience is clear and I am ready to answer any charge that will be filed in the proper forum," she added. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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