RAPS VS. GARIN TO STOP POLITICIZING DENGVAXIA ISSUE: PALACE
MANILA -- The Department of Justice's (DOJ) indictment of former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette Garin and 19 others over the Dengvaxia controversy should stop the politicization of the issue as it affects the country's public health sector, Malacañang said Saturday.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Garin's indictment showed that "the wheels of justice have begun to grind."
"Now that the legal process has taken its course, we wish everyone would finally stop politicizing the issue in the court of public opinion. Such exercise has only caused an unnecessary fear on the part of parents for good and credit-worthy health programs of the government to the detriment of innocent children," he said.
Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, said Garin and the other accused should welcome this as an opportunity to defend themselves in court.
"As for the defendants, they should welcome this latest development as an opportunity to clear their names and raise whatever defense they have in relation to the matter before a court of law. As always, we will not interfere in the proceedings save for the DOJ, which is mandated by law to prosecute accused felons," he said.
"We hope that true justice and peace will be attained as this is the only way we can deliver proper closure to the victims of the vaccination initiative and their families," he added.
Prosecutors have found probable cause to indict several former and current DOH officials, led by Garin, for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide in the deaths of eight children administered with the Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine without the necessary precautions.
DOJ Undersecretary and spokesman Markk L. Perete announced Friday that aside from the DOH officials, also named in the 127-page resolution recommending the indictment were officials of the Food and Drug Administration, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, and international pharmaceutical giant, Sanofi Pasteur, Inc.
The DOJ, on the other hand, ordered the dismissal of the same charges against Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, former officer-in-charge Dr. Herminigildo Valle, Sanofi Pasteur's Pearl Grace G. Cabali, and Maria Ester Vangaurdia-de Antoni, and officers and directors of Zuellig Pharma Corp. (PNA)
Photo by Kevin Espiritu/Manila Bulletin