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PAO welcomes Garin et. al DOJ indictment

Janette Garin
Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin

Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta yesterday lauded the Department of Justice for indicting former Health secretary and now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin and nine other Health department officials over the deaths of children inoculated with anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

In a statement, Acosta said the  medical reports against the respondents are strong.

“The evidence presented is overwhelming.

“The Dengvaxia victims expected full indictment and prosecution at the proper court with jurisdiction, “ Acosta said.

Meanwhile, Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon said  the criminal information against Garin and other respondents will be filed next week in different courts.

“Different jurisdictions. May Region 3 and NCR (National Capital Region). Informations are ready but the attachments are the ones being photocopied. A bit voluminous kasi. It will be filed as soon as the attachments are ready po,” Fadullon said.

Last Friday, the DOJ announced the filing of charges against Garin and several others implicated in the Dengvaxia deaths.

This was after probable cause was established against them during preliminary investigation into the complaints.

Also to be charged with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide were officials of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and Sanofi Pasteur, Inc. (Sanofi).

Also, the DOJ found sufficient evidence to indict the president of Sanofi Pasteur, Inc. for violating the Consumer Act of the Philippines for manufacturing the Dengvaxia vaccine which poses certain risks to seronegatives, or to those who have not previously contracted the Dengue disease.

In a  resolution, the DOJ found that there was “inexcusable lack of precaution” on the part of Garin and the other respondent government officials in the “fast-tracking of the procurement process” for the Dengvaxia vaccine despite being aware of its low efficacy results and potential risks associated with its use.

Executive Order No. 49,s. 1993 requires Philippine National Drug Formulary (PNDF) listing before drug purchases by the government can be made, subject to certain exceptions.

The DOJ noted that even before the PNDF exemption of the Dengvaxia vaccine was granted on 03 February 2016, the budget for the same was already being processed as early as  December 2015, while the purchase request for the vaccine was made as early as January 2016.

It added that respondent-government officials were reckless when they allowed the purchase of the Dengvaxia vaccine despite red flags already known to them.