Parents of children whose death was linked to the Dengvaxia vaccine on Friday rejected an insinuation that the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) has abandoned them in the criminal complaints filed against former health secretary Janette Garin and 30 other respondents.
At a media briefing in Quezon City, Sumachen Dominguez, president of Samahan ng mga Magulang, Anak at Biktima ng Dengvaxia, hit the Department of Justice (DOJ) over its “widely circulated falsified” joint statement with PAO.
“It is impossible that PAO would negotiate with DOJ that there is no conflict of interest in the resolution of the reckless imprudence resulting in homicide complaints under the supervision of Undersecretary Jesse Hermogenes Andres, who heads the National Prosecution Service,” she said. Rio N. Araja
Andres is a former lawyer of Garin in the Dengvaxia-related cases filed with the DOJ and Quezon City Regional Trial Court.
She reacted to a supposed joint statement of DOJ and PAO citing that both agencies had settled their difference over the conflict of interest issue against Andres in connection with the Dengvaxia cases.
“We believe that is just a media blitz to make it appear that PAO as our lawyer has abandoned us in our legal battle,” she stressed.
The statement cited that there was no factual basis to exclude the NPS from conducting a preliminary investigation of the Dengvaxia cases.
When asked, PAO chief Persida Rueda Acosta told the Manila Standard that “I don’t know who prepared it (joint statement) and who distributed it to all branches of the media.”
“It is up to those who did it. God knows how clear our intention is in helping the DOJ and the trial prosecutors (in their quest to seek justice). We want to raise the flag of the justice department because PAO is its attached agency. We highly respect the justice secretary,” she said.
She, however, said PAO would never forsake the kin of the supposed Dengvaxia victims.
The other parents, Girlie Samonte, Ian Colite, Jonathan de Guzman and Rea Lyn Jusayan, raised concern over the filing of the DOJ-NPS of Dengvaxia cases with the metropolitan trial courts despite a Supreme Court order designating one Dengvaxia family court in Quezon City,
saying the NPS is just wasting government’s time, effort, and money for doing such.
Along with PAO, the victims’ kin expressed disappointment over the recent dismissal of 24 counts of criminal cases at the NPS against Garin and the 30 other doctors involved in the mass Dengvaxia vaccination of more than 800,000 schoolchildren in 2016 and 2017.
They renewed their plea to Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla to inhibit Andres from the litigation and prosecution of the Dengvaxia charges.
Vaccine manufacturer — Sanofi Pasteur Inc. – in a November 2017 official statement announced that the vaccine could increase the hospitalization risk for individuals who have not been previously infected by the dengue virus, and that the Philippines halted the vaccination program of the Department of Health.