Saturday, August 18, 2018

Solon debunks false impression: 'No one is off the hook yet in Dengvaxia case '



Composite photo of Former President Benigno Aquino III, former health secretary Janette Garin, and former budget chief Butch Abad  / photo file from ABS CBN News



Manila, Philippines – Report that former President Benigno Aquino III has been cleared of any liability in the implementation of the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine program has been debunked by the House Committee on Health last Thursday.

House Committee on Health chair Dr. Angelina Tan cleared that media and newspaper reports made an impression that her committee and the Good Government and Public Accountability committee have cleared Aquino of culpability.


"It is unfortunate that the reports have made it appear that the Health panel is one with the Good Government and Public Accountability panel in exonerating the former chief executive," Tan said in a statement, saying that impressions were wrong.

"It is not true that we in the Committee on Health have concurred with the findings and recommendations of the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability as we have never been part of the drafting process nor have been consulted on the matter," she added.

The media could have had the reports based on the draft that Tan’s committee submitted, but it "merely touched upon the issue of health and efficacy based on its own independent investigation." She said.

She added that the Health panel conducted three hearings on the topic before submitting its draft committee report for consideration of the Good Government and Public Accountability panel.

"The said panel had taken over the investigation after the previous leadership of the House of Representatives had abruptly ordered to terminate our investigation in favor of the Good Government and Public Accountability panel," Tan said.

Tan said that draft committee report which is said to have cleared Aquino did not even reach the floor because of the motions to defer its presentation filed by Dinagat Islands Representative Kaka Bag-ao and Camarines Sur Representative Gabriel Bordad despite her objection as well as of other principal authors of the resolution.*

Both Kaka Bag-ao and Gabriel Bordad were under the Liberal Party.

"The truth is, l was ready to question the draft findings and recommendations, which to my mind were biased in favor of Aquino and [former Health Secretary Janette] Garin," the committee chair said.

"The joint panels have scheduled the consideration of the draft report on the following day, which however did not push through inasmuch as Rep. [Johnny] Pimentel had been replaced as chairman of the committee," Tan added.

She noted that based on their own investigations, considering the inquiries of the Senate, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Public Attorney's Office, Aquino and Grain may be held  accountable in the controversial dengue vaccine program together with other high-ranking Health officials of the previous administration.

"It cannot be denied that it was Aquino, as the highest official of the land at that time, who caused the purchase of Dengvaxia despite the fact that it was still undergoing clinical trials," Tan said.

"Sanofi Pasteur, Dengvaxia's manufacturer, has later on admitted the vaccine may pose risks when administered to individuals not previously infected with dengue," she added

The former president, former DOH Secretary Janette Garin and former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad are now facing different charges in relation to the failed dengue vaccination.


 Source: GMA News