Ombudsman starts probe on Acosta

August 17, 2019
Persida Acosta

THE Office of the Ombudsman has started its preliminary investigation and administrative adjudication against Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief  Persida Acosta and PAO Forensic Laboratory chief Erwin Erfe  over corruption allegations in connection with the Dengvaxia vaccine controversy.

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by Wilfredo Garrido Jr. who accused the two officials of corruption within the agency that included the controversial Denvaxia vaccine issue.

Following Garrido’s complaints, the Office of the Ombudsman immediately issued an order last April 13, 2019 directing the respondents to file their respective counter-affidavits.

Records from the criminal and administrative cases show Acosta and Erfe are facing criminal charges for violation of Sections 3(e) and 3(j) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices), falsification by public officer, malversation and illegal use of public funds or property.

Administrative charges for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, grave abuse of authority and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, were also filed against the two PAO officials.

Acosta and Erfe filed on April 30, 2019 a consolidated counter-affidavit, a day after Garrido filed an urgent motion for their preventive suspension.

On May 2, Acosta filed her “Comment and/or Opposition to the Motion for Preventive Suspension.”

During the course of the investigation, several other pleadings were filed by the respective parties.