By Jeffrey Damicog
The complainants in the third batch of Dengvaxia complaints filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) sought Thursday the inhibition of Acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon from handling their cases.
“While complainants trust the DOJ, as an institution, possesses integrity, impartiality and diligence in the discharge of its adjudicative responsibilities, complainants are constrained, however, respectfully ask and humbly beg for DSP Fadullon’s voluntary inhibition, the same being the most prudent move under the circumstances,” read the motion to inhibit filed before the National Prosecution Service by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) on behalf of the complainants.
Their complaints are currently undergoing preliminary before a panel of prosecutors chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Arnold Magpantay.
The complaints concerned the deaths of 13 persons who got inoculated with the vaccine, namely, Senior Police Officer 2 Vicente Arugay Jr. and children Crezel Ann Joy Viaros, Adeline Castroverde, Wiljen Alcontin, Eleazar Brigoli Jr., Trishanne Asona, EJ Christian Apa, Joanina Cortes, Gladimier Juevesano, Kianah Mae Racuya, Shiela Mae Guerra, Gillian Vasquez,and Kristel Jean Magtira.
In their motion to inhibit, the complainants cited what happened to the first batch of cases, particularly, those concerning the deaths of children Aejay Bautista and Jansyn Art Bataan now pending before the Caloocan City Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC) Branch 83.
They said prosecutors, instead of submitting evidence pursuant to the order of the court, opted to file amended charges to make it one count of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide instead of two counts.
“It is our position that there are as many crimes for Reckless Imprudence as the number of children,” said the complainants.
They insinuated that bribe money may have changed hands to lessen the number of charges against the defendants, who include former Health Secretary Janette Garin.
Fadullon denied the accusations hurled by the complainants who are mostly parents.
“Definitely there is no truth to the accusations. It is absurd as it is incredible as I have never had any interaction with any of the parties in the Dengvaxia cases,” he said.
“While I commiserate with the victims for their loss, they should exercise caution and prudence before making baseless accusations,” he stated.
With this, Fadullon dared the complainants and even the PAO to “come forward with their evidence.”
“I challenge the complainants and the PAO to substantiate their accusations, as I reserve the right to file charges against them if these frivolous charges are proven untrue,” he warned.