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Monday, June 24, 2024

Dengvaxia raps vs Aquino up for resolution

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The Justice department may resolve within the month the criminal complaints against former President Benigno Aquino III and the others implicated in the speedy procurement of the multi-billion-peso government contract for the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

“Maybe within the month it will be released,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters Monday when sought for comment on the status of the complaint filed against Aquino by the Volunteers Against Crime Corruption and the Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc.

Senator Richard Gordon earlier urged the Justice department to look closely into Aquino’s possible liability in the P3.5-billion purchase of the vaccine.

“I have already explained to Senator Gordon that former President Aquino, [former Budget] Secretary Butch Abad et al are facing different complaints [anti-graft, violation of the procurement law, etc.] which are also up for resolution by the DOJ very soon,” Guevarra said.

Aquino and his co-respondents are accused of having violated Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, misuse of funds under Section 65(3) of RA 9184, the Government Procurement Reform Act, and reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide through criminal negligence.

Charged along with Aquino are Abad, Garin and former and current Department of Health officials, including Undersecretaries Carol Tanio, Gerardo Bayugo, Lilibeth David, and Mario Villaverde; Assistant Secretaries Lyndon Lee Suy and Nestor Santiago; Directors Laureano Cruz, Joyce Ducusin, Mar Wynn Bello, Leonila Gorgolon, Rio Magpantay, Ariel Valencia, and Julius Lecciones; retired Undersecretary Nemesio Gako; resigned Undersecretaries Vicente Belizario Jr. and Kenneth Hartigan-Go; and resigned executive assistant to Garin, Dr. Yolanda Oliveros.

Sanofi Pasteur and local distributor Zuellig Pharma officials were also named as co-respondents in the complaint.

The National Bureau of Investigation likewise filed in July 2018 a criminal complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against Aquino, Abad and Garin over their alleged involvement in the anomalous purchase of the vaccine.

Another DOJ panel released on Feb. 27 its resolution finding probable cause to indict Garin and 19 others for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide for their liability in the deaths of eight children who received shots of the vaccine. 


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