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Ombudsman orders PAO chief to answer graft charges

The Office of the Ombudsman has given due course to a complaint filed  against Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta and  Dr. Erwin Erfe for malversation of public funds, falsification of public medical documents, grave misconduct, and abuse of authority. 

In an Order dated April 12, 2019, the Ombudsman directed Acosta and Erfe  to file their counter-affidavit within ten days. The charges carry the penalty of dismissal from service and imprisonment.

In his complaint filed, public interest advocate  Wilfredo M. Garrido, Jr. accused Acosta of illegally creating the PAO Forensic Laboratory without authority from Congress and bypassing the premiere medical investigative bodies, namely the PNP Crime Laboratory and NBI Crime Laboratories.

Both institutions were created by law for forensic investigation and employ qualified forensic scientists.   Garrido accused   Acosta of creating an office to “manufacture evidence” and filing dubious cases against officials of the Department of Health “based on the Same corrupt evidence.”

The PAO is under fire from doctors for creating panic and hysteria caused by its pronouncement or the Dengvaxia issue, the complaint stated.

“The money she lavished upon the PAO Forensic Laboratory could have been used to hire more lawyers to represent more indigent litigants in pursuance of its legal mandate,”  Garrido alleged in his complaint-affidavit before the Ombudsman.

Garrido cites the case of one Rei Jazztine Alimagno, 13, of Antipolo City who died in January 2018 and whose corpse was dug up and examined by Erfe who proceeded to certify that she died of complications from “Dengue shock syndrom” after receiving a “number of doses of Dengvaxia” in a “Forensic Examinations Report” dated May 9, 2018.

It turned out that Alimagno was never injected a single dose of the vaccine for lack of “parent’s consent” as certified by the City Health Office of Antipolo.

Garrido accused Erfe of likewise presenting “bogus credentials,” lacking the requisite qualifications of a forensic pathologist - which medical expertise respondents and could have easily obtained from both the PNP and NBI crime laboratories.

Topics: Office of the Ombudsman , Public Attorney’s Office , PAO chief Persida Acosta , Dr. Erwin Erfe , graft charges
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