Guevarra hopes January release of resolution for 1st batch of Dengvaxia raps

By Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra hopes prosecutors will release this January the resolution over the first batch of complaints concerning the deaths of children who received shots of the Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“I think the first batch of complaints pertaining to Dengvaxia is about to be resolved anytime soon,” said Guevarra.

A DOJ panel of prosecutors chaired by Assistant State Prosecutor Maria Emilia Victorio wrapped up its preliminary investigation over the first batch of complaints last Oct. 30 but has yet to release a resolution whether to file charges in court or not those who have been named as respondents.

“As a secretary of justice I do not interfere on the matter of how our prosecutors or panels of prosecutors deal with the various complaints pending before them,” Guevarra said.

The panel conducted the preliminary investigation over the criminal complaints filed separately by the families of the nine dead children.

The nine dead children are Aejay Bautista, Anjielica Pestillos, Lenard Baldonado, Zandro Colite, Abbie Hedia, Jansyn Art Bataa, Mark Axel Ebonia, Reijazztine Justin Alimagno, and Alexander Jaime.

In the complaints, the families who are represented by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) accused the respondents of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC); for torture resulting to the death of a person and the torture of a child under Republic Act 9745, also known as the Act Penalizing Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment; obstruction of justice under Section 1(b) of Presidential Decree 1829; and violation of Section 3€ of Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The respondents include former Health Secretary Janette Garin; Department of Health (DOH) officials Vicente Belizario Jr., Kenneth Hartigan-Go, Gerardo Bayugo, Lyndon Lee Suy, Irma Asuncion, Julius Lecciones, Joyce Ducusin, and Rosalind Vianzon; Maria Lourdes Santiago and Melody Zamudio of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and Socorro Lupisan and Maria Rosario Capending of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

Executives of Dengavaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur Inc. and distributor Zuellig Pharma Corporation were also included as respondents.

The corporate directors and officers of Sanofi named in the complaint are Carlito Realuyo, Sanislas Camart, Jean Louis Grunwald, Jean-Francois Vacherand, Conchita Santos, Jazel Anne Calvo, Pearl Grace Cabali, and Marie Esther De Antoni.

While, those from Zuellig are Kasigod Jamias, Michael Becker, Ricardo Romulo, Imran Babar Chugtai, Raymund 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.