The Department of Justice (DoJ) is set to conduct next year the preliminary investigation of the sixth batch of complaints over the deaths of those who received the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.
Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento revealed this Saturday after the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) filed the sixth batch of complaints before the DoJ last Nov. 25 on behalf of the families of the vaccinees.
“Next year na. Ninety-eight counts kasi ‘yan (The preliminary investigation will be done next year. There are 98 complaints),” Malcontento said.
Malcontento said he has yet to assign a prosecutor who will conduct the preliminary investigation of the complaints to determine if there is probable cause to file charges in court.
He said the DoJ National Prosecution Service (NPS) is currently sorting out the complaints.
“Napuno conference room namin ng documents (Our conference was filled with documents),” Malcontento said after the PAO turned in a truck full of documents when it filed the complaints.
The sixth batch of complaints is the most number filed by the PAO at the DoJ compared to the other batches.
The PAO has autopsied 60 persons, mostly children, who were vaccinated with Dengvaxia.
The sixth batch of complaints concerns the deaths of 98 children and the suffering endured by a boy survivor, all of whom were vaccinated with Dengvaxia.
There are 41 persons named as respondents in the sixth batch of complaints, including Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and former Health Secretary now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin.
In the complaints, the families accused the respondents of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide under the Revised Penal Code (RPC); torture of children and torture resulting the deaths in violation of Republic Act 9745, the Act Penalizing Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment; violation of RA 7394, the Consumer Act of the Philippines; and for vaccination without the required prescription and dispensing without pharmacist approval in violation of RA 10918, the Philippine Pharmacy Act.
PAO has been following the 2017 order of then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to “extend free legal assistance in civil, criminal, and administrative cases to all possible victims of Dengvaxia related injuries, illnesses, and deaths.”