By Jeffrey Damicog
Former Health Secretary Janette Garin and 36 others were charged before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday (July 16) over the death of another child who got inoculated with the Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine.
Assisted by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), Rowena Villages filed the complaint following the death of her son, Michael Tablate.
PAO Chief Persida Acosta said that autopsy results of Tablate shows similar findings to the other dead children who also received Dengvaxia.
“Tapos na po ang histopathological exam ng tissues ng kanyang anak at ayun pa rin common pattern pa rin ng bleeding, edema, hemorrhages po ng internal organs (We’ve finished the histopathoological examination of the tissues of the son of Rowena Villegas and we found the same pattern of bleeding, edema, and hemorrhages of internal organs),” Acosta told reporters.
The PAO chief also noted that Tablate, who was 11-years-old when he died on Oct. 31, 2017, completed his three Dengvaxia shots which he last received on July 12, 2017.
“Kaya yung sinasabi pong kumpletohin ang bakuna, hindi po totoo na safe yun (Those who are saying that the set Dengvaxia shots should be completed, it’s still not true that it is safe),” she said.
Under the complaint filed yesterday, the respondents have been accused of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code; torture resulting to the death of any person and torture committed against children under Republic Act 9745 (the Act Penalizing Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment); and for having defective and mislabeled product under RA 7394 (Consumer Act of the Philippines).
Apart from Garin, Department of Health (DOH) officials named as respondents in the complaint include Dr. Vicente Belizario Jr., Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go, Dr. Gerardo Bayugo, Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, Dr. Irma Asuncion, Dr. Julius Lecciones, Dr. Joyce Ducusin, Rosalind Viianzon, and Mario Baquilod.
Also named as respondents are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials Dr. Maria Lourdes Santiago and Melody Zamudio; and officials of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), namely, Drs. Socorro Lupisan and Maria Rosario Capeding.
Executives of Dengvaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pastuer and local distributor Zuellig Pharma are also included as respondents.
Sanofi Pasteur executives named as respondents are Carlito Realuyo, Stanislas Camart, Jean Louis Grunwald and Jean-Francois Vacherand. Those from Zuellig Pharma are Kasigod Jamias, Micheal Becker, Ricardo Romulo, Imran Babar Chugtal, Rayumund Azurin, Nilo Badiola, John Stokes Davison, Marc Franck, Ashley Gerard Antonio, Ana Liza Peralta, Rosa Maria Chua, Danilo Cahoy, Manuel Concio III, Roland Goco, and Ma. Visitacion Barreiro.
Acosta disclosed that the PAO is readying the complaints that will be filed before the DOJ over the deaths of three more children who received Dengvaxia.
“Meron pa po tatlo kaming inihahanda na another set kaya magiging labing-apat ang mga criminal case (We are preparing three more sets of complaints so there will be a total of 14 complaints.
The DOJ is already conducting a preliminary investigation of the nine complaints filed by the PAO on behalf of the families of nine dead children, namely, Aejay Bautista, Anjielica Pestillos, Lenard Baldonado, Zandro Colite, Abbie Hedia, Jansyn Art Bataa, Mark Axel Ebonia, Reijazztine Justin Alimagno, and Alexander Jaime.
The other two complaints concerned the deaths of Tablate and Naomi Nimura. The family of Nimura filed the complaint last June 25.
Acosta said the PAO has received reports of over 200 possible deaths related to the inoculation of Dengvaxia.
Among these, she noted the PAO has autopsied 67 and is set to autopsy seven more.
“Paakyat na ng paakyat ang bilang so yung kinatatakutan namin na magkakasunud-sunod kapag hindi naagapan (This is what we fear the rising number of deaths if nothing is done about it),” Acosta said.
“Kapag hindi agad nabigyan ng DOH ng lunas itong mga batang ito ay mas dadami pa po ang patay (If the DOH don’t do something about it more will die),” she warned.