More cases against Abad, Garin in Dengvaxia mess

 

By Rose de la Cruz

 

The Volunteers against Crime and Corruption will soon be filing criminal charges against former Cabinet members of the Aquino administration, including the former president himself, for rushing the implementation of the national dengue vaccination program, even without full clarity on its implications and using public funds and state influence on its massive application in at least three regions of the country.

 

Already former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Health Secretary Janet Garin and former President Aquino are being summoned in the Senate hearings on the Dengvaxia vaccine mess, which claimed to have led to the deaths of some schoolchildren that has caused fear among parents of those kids already vaccinated with it of future negative reactions among their children of the vaccine.

 

There are three cases, not just in the release of funds for Dengvaxia. For one, there are witnesses, who were part of the team for the Dengvaxia vaccine program, who attested that Garin, Pnoy and the others went to Zambales wearing yellow and had campaign slogans attached to their garbs and the speeches were clearly part of the administration’s campaign for its candidates. This is clearly a violation of the law against electioneering, said Atty, Manny Luna, legal counsel of VACC.

 

The whistleblower was a doctor of the DoH who said he has to attest to this fact to show clearly Garin’s part in the Dengvaxia mess and the role of Pnoy in the mass vaccination program. Pnoy has announced he would be appearing before the Senate tomorrow.

 

Another one is the use of the funds and facilities plus the release of the funds (which was established because there was no certification from the Commission on Elections), he said.

 

Truth is Dengvaxia is really a national tragedy that should not have happened, he said.

 

In the haste of the Aquino administration to come up with a national vaccination program against dengue for “pogi points,” he said, the deeper fund mess involves the P10 billion Philhealth funds which were released along with the P3.5 billion for Dengvaxia. The P10 billion was for the establishment of a Philhealth center, which however should only be 10 percent of the entire fund allocation while the bulk of the funds cannot be accounted now.

 

The witness here is a Philhealth board member, who was one of those that did not approve the release of the fund, which was approved only by Pnoy and former Philhealth president/CEO Alexander Padilla so that the money could be released expeditiously. The SARO (special allotment release order) from the Department of Budget and Management for both Dengvaxia and Philhealth was on the same date and ordered released by DBM Secretary Abad.

 

Imagine these funds were released so easily when in usual budget procedures for the PNP you need to submit so many supporting documents to justify the release of intelligence funds.

 

In PNP, for instance, some 4,000 cops were vaccinated with Dengvaxia as part of the mass immunization program. Luckily, none of those vaccinated reported getting sick or experiencing untoward responses to the vaccine but this could not be for certain as the effects are supposed to be felt within 5 years from vaccination, he said.

PNP PIO C/Insp. Bryan Gregorio confirmed that none of those given shots of Dengvaxia have yet shown any negative effects from it, so far. But this is being monitored by the health service of PNP and jokingly, he said, so far all of them are still alive.

 

Garin has been denying knowledge of Dengvaxia but when three DoH directors of NCR, Calabarzon and Region IV-A have come up with counter affidavits with her memorandum attached showing her knowledge and involvement in Dengvaxia, they were able to prove that they were just following her orders from the national office to implement the national mass vaccination.

 

From just a school-based program, it became a community program including police and barangay officials to come up with 20,000 samples.

 

This is not the end because the monitoring period is five years, he said, and some parents are already airing their apprehensions about what would happen to their children who had been vaccinated.

 

 

 

 

 

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