Two respondents have waived their rights to answer the charges against them in the fourth batch of Dengvaxia complaints arising from their involvement in the inoculation of 13 children with the controversial anti-dengue vaccine, an official said Thursday.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Tofel Austria, who heads the panel of prosecutors handling the Dengvaxia cases, identified the respondents as former Health department official Herminigildo Valle and Zuellig Pharma executive Imran Babar Chugtai.
Austria said out of the 40 respondents named in the 13 complaints comprising the fourth batch of Dengvaxia cases, Valle and Chugtai were the only ones who did not file counter-affidavits to answer the charges.
“They have waived their rights to answer the allegations against them, Austria said.
He recalled that the two respondents were able to file counter-affidavits in the first, second and third batches of the complaints on the Dengvaxia controversy.
The panel led by Austria is conducting a preliminary investigation on the fourth batch of complaints, which were filed by the Public Attorney’s Office on behalf of the families of the victims.
Nonetheless, Austria said the Justice department panel will resolve the case against the respondents, including Valle and Chugtai based on merits.
“We will rule based on the evidence presented before the panel, Austria said.
The fourth batch of complaints covers the deaths of 12 children and the ordeal of Mark Joseph Estandarte, an 11-year-old survivor after getting shots of the Dengvaxia vaccine.
Under the complaints, the respondents, including former Health secretary and now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, are accused of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code; torture resulting in the death of a person and torture committed against children under Republic Act 9745, the Anti-Torture Act of 2009; and for violating RA 7394, the Consumer Act of the Philippines, particularly, the mislabelling of drugs and devices, liability for defective products, and liability for product and service imperfection.