By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) charge against former Health Secretary Janette Garin and 19 others over the deaths blamed on the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia is bound to fail, according to Senator Richard Gordon.
Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, which probed the controversy of the government’s P3.5-billion dengue immunization program, on Sunday aired his belief that the case of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide against Garin and her fellow respondents will not stand up in court, and may be dismissed for lack of evidence.
In an interview over radio DZBB, Gordon maintained that there has been no scientific study yet proving that the Sanofi Pasteur-manufactured Dengvaxia caused the deaths of children who received shots of the vaccine.
“Hindi pa naman talaga nasasabi na Sanofi ang principal cause ng pagkamatay nitong mga naturukan ng bakuna. Wala pa talaga tayong evidence (Nothing yet says that Sanofi was the principal cause of the deaths of those injected with the vaccine. We really have no evidence yet),” the senator, who is also a lawyer, said.
He recalled this was also found in the blue ribbon committee’s inquiry.
“Eh hindi mo mapoprove na namatay ‘yong tao sa dengue, madi-dismiss ‘yong kaso kaagad. Tapos na, makakalimutan na, wala nang katarungan (Since you cannot prove that they died due to dengue, the charge will be dismissed right away. It will be forgotten, there is no justice at all),” he added.
Gordon, on Saturday, expressed disappointment in the non-inclusion of former President Benigno Aquino III and former Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad in the DOJ’s charges relating to the Dengvaxia mess.
The DOJ, he added, should have sued these officials for violating anti-graft and procurement laws.
Citing his committee’s findings, Gordon said it was clear that officials of the previous administration “rushed” the procurement of the anti-dengue vaccine in time for the May, 2016 elections.
He cited anew Aquino’s meeting with Sanofi officials, and his approval of the release of funds for the purchase of the vaccine through the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) by the Department of Budget and Management.
Gordon said he hopes that graft cases would be filed against Aquino, Abad, Garin and other concerned officials before the Ombudsman.
“They should all be liable for this mess,,” Gordon said in Filipino.
Meanwhile, Gordon supported the Palace in appealing to the public to stop politicizing the the Dengvaxia issue.