PAO vows to go after those responsible for Dengvaxia deaths

Published February 9, 2019, 4:46 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Jeffrey Damicog 

Whatever anybody says, the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) has vowed to prosecute those who should be held liable for the deaths of persons who received shots of the Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine.

“The PAO will be undeterred by the baseless and malicious criticism and will unwaveringly continue to help the families of the victims in their pursuit of justice,” read its 2018 accomplishment report released to the media yesterday (Feb. 9).

It reminded that back in 2017 then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II issued Department of Justice (DOJ) Order No. 792 which directed the PAO “to extend free legal assistance in civil, criminal and administrative cases at all possible victims of Dengvaxia related injuries, illnesses and deaths.”

In response, the PAO said it has filed, so far, a total of 32 complaints before the Department of Justice (DOJ) concerning the liability of persons over those who died after getting inoculated with the vaccine.

It added that, as of last December 31, it also autopsied 106 bodies of suspected Dengvaxia victims at the request of families.

“Sacrosanct in the Constitution is the access to justice by the underprivileged. Such idealism ripened into reality upon the creation of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO). With the strong leadership and effective management of its officials, the PAO progressed into the country’s primary and prominent law office which provides free legal assistance and other services to pauper litigants and other qualified clients,” the PAO report stated.

Among the other accomplishments it highlighted, the PAO boasted that it secured 26,932 acquittals.

“This proves that the act of Congress in 2008 for the strengthening of the PAO, through Republic Act (R.A.) No.9406, had come into reality,” it noted.