De Lima camp assessing effect of Jaybee Sebastian’s death on her drug cases

Robie de Guzman   •   July 21, 2020   •   1044

MANILA, Philippines – Detained Senator Leila de Lima said her lawyers are now assessing the effects of the death of high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian on the drug-related charges filed against her.

“My lawyers are still assessing the effect of Sebastian’s death on the cases against me, considering that he is or was the Duterte regime’s supposed ‘star’ witness,” De Lima said in a dispatch from Camp Crame on Monday.

“However, all testimonies coming from the inmates and some other so-called witnesses are all fabrications anyway. One less fabrication might be good in my case, but let us not forget all the other testimony fabrications. Whether the fabricator is dead or alive does not change the fact that their stories are all lies, and that the cases against me are all fake,” she added.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday said that Sebastian was among the nine high-profile inmates of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City who succumbed to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra made the confirmation following a meeting with Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag on Monday afternoon. 

Bantag earlier refused to reveal the name of inmates who died from COVID-19 citing Data Privacy Act.

Guevarra has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an investigation into the deaths of the inmates after Bantag informed him of the protocol in the event of an inmate’s death from coronavirus disease which include the mandatory cremation of the cadaver within 12 hours to prevent the spread of the infection.

Sebastian was the key witness in the alleged Bilibid drug trade and drug trafficking cases against De Lima which are currently pending before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court.

The senator, who is one of the Duterte administration’s vocal critics, has been detained since 2017.

“The Duterte regime can have 100 live witnesses for all I care. But this still does not change the fact that the charges against me are absolutely false and fictitious. Conversely, the regime’s witnesses can all be dead, but this will not prevent Duterte and his operators from inventing other evidence to keep me in jail,” De Lima said.

“My point is, under normal conditions, these cases would have been dismissed a long time ago. But under conditions of a dictatorship where it is the dictator himself who has a very personal stake on the cases, and given the state of our justice system, I will not wonder if dead witnesses can still be made to rise from the grave and made to testify,” she added.

Meanwhile, De Lima raised alarm anew over the “dire conditions” existing in the country’s jails during the public health crisis, and even the pre-pandemic times.

“COVID-19 is not a joke, as the Duterte regime has treated it, especially in our prison system that hosts the perfect conditions for the spread of the virus,” she said.

“Regardless of who the dead are, whether free citizens or PDLs, they shall remain to be counted as the victims of the incompetence, indifference, and impunity of the Duterte Administration in dealing with the pandemic that has resulted in more suffering for our people, not to mention the devastation of the economy after months of lockdown but with absolutely nothing to show for it,” she added.

She then called on the Duterte administration to “step down, and hand over the reins of government” to Vice President Leni Robredo.

COVID-19 vaccination sa mga bata, palalawigin sa 13 ospital sa Metro Manila – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Mula sa walong ospital ay palalawigin pa sa 13 ospital sa Metro Manila ang isinasagawang pediatric vaccination kontra COVID-19, partikular sa mga batang may edad 12 hanggang 17 at may co-morbidity.

Ayon kay Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, tinukoy na ng ilang local government unit (LGU) ang mga ospital na isasama na rin sa listahan ng mga pinagdarausan ng pagbabakuna.

Magsisimula aniya ang expansion sa ika-22 ng Oktubre.

“Ngayon naman po ay pupunta naman po tayo sa mga LGU-based hospitals ‘no and magdaragdag po ng thirteen additional local hospitals doon sa mga ospital na nagsimula na sa national ‘no,” ani Malaya.

“So, ito po ay magsisimula ngayong Friday hanggang October 31. So, ang bawat LGU po ay nag-identify ng isang local hospital para maisama sa pilot ng pediatric vaccination,” dagdag pa niya.

Kabilang sa mga ospital na idaragdag sa vaccination site ay ang Caloocan Medical Center, Ospital ng Parañaque, at ang Pasay General Hospital.

Ang walong ospital na kasalukuyang pinagdarausan ng pagbabakuna ay ang Philippine Children’s Medical Center,
National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Heart Center,
Pasig City General Hospital,
 Fe Del Mundo Medical Center,
 Philippine General Hospital,
 Makati Medical Center at ang St. Luke’s Medical Center sa Taguig.

Paalala ng mga otoridad sa mga magulang na nais pabakunahan ang kanilang mga anak na may co-morbidity na makipag-ugnayan sa nakakasakop na LGU at magpakita ng mga kaukulang dokumento, pati na ang parent consent.

Mula a-16 ng Oktubre ay nasa 1,509 bata na ang nakatanggap ng COVID-19 shots batay sa ulat ng Department of Health.

DOH: 1,509 minors with health risks vaccinated vs COVID-19 in first week

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines ­– A total of 1,509 children aged 12 to 17 with co-morbidities were vaccinated in the first week of the pilot implementation of the COVID-19 pediatric vaccination in Metro Manila, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said, the pilot vaccination was successful based on a three-day assessment they conducted.

Vergeire noted that four minors who received the shots reportedly experienced side effects but added that these are still being verified and assessed.

“Isang bata na nagkaroon ng pagtaas ng presyon but after 2 hours they were able to manage it, naging normal na. May nagkaroon ng allergic reaction but it was managed,” she said.

“May dalawang stress-related doon sa immunization, may anxiety sa pagbabakuna. Let me caution all of you, it’s not official yet,” she added.

Vergeire assured they are closely monitoring the condition of minors inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccination for the pediatric population was launched on Oct. 15 in eight hospitals in Metro Manila, namely:

  • Philippine Children’s Medical Center
  • National Children’s Hospital
  • Philippine Heart Center
  • Pasig City General Hospital
  • Fe Del Mundo Medical Center
  • Philippine General Hospital
  • Makati Medical Center
  • Luke’s Medical Center (Taguig)

The following medical conditions would make children aged 12 to 17 years old eligible for vaccination against COVID-19:

  • Medical complexity
  • Genetic conditions
  • Neurologic conditions
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Metabolic/endocrine
  • Obesity
  • HIV infection
  • Tuberculosis
  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Renal disorder
  • Hepatobillary

Vergeire earlier said that children participating in the pilot COVID-19 vaccination program should be well-informed and must get clearance from their doctors.

 

Blue Ribbon to release initial report on ‘overpriced’ medical supplies from Pharmally

Maris Federez   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is set to release the initial report on its investigation into the alleged overpriced medical supplies for COVID-19 procured by the government from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.

Blue Ribbon chairperson Senator Richard Gordon said they will try to release the said preliminary report within this week.

He said the committee had been very careful in preparing the report from the results of the investigations conducted in the series of hearings. He added that individuals who must take accountability for the said anomaly will be included in the report in accordance with the anti-graft law and the procurement law.

“Ang lalabas ngayon, ano ang naging resulta ng imbestigasyon. Well, mabusisi ito. Malinaw na kung anong ginawa. ‘Yun ang ipapalabas natin. Ito ang ginawa ng mga taong ‘to, ito ang mananagot sa anti-graft, ito ang mananagot sa violation ng procurement law, at sino ba talaga ang nagpaikot niyan,” Gordon said.

The senator said they will hold the twelfth hearing on the said issue on Tuesday, following its cancellation last October 12. —/mbmf (with details from UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

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