DOH claims PAO still not cooperating on Dengvaxia controversy
admin • April 4, 2018 • 3720
FILE PHOTO: Public Attorney’s Office Chief Percida Acosta (UNTV News)
MANILA, Philippines — The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) is yet to open its door to the Department of Health (DOH) regarding the Dengvaxia controversy.
Although PAO has already expressed willingness to cooperate during a Senate hearing, it has yet to make good on its promises.
“No. Ayaw nila kahit na anong gawin namin. Ayaw nila,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque.
(No. No matter what we do, they don’t want to.)
The DOH said PAO should be cooperating with them to hold liable those responsible for giving the controversial anti-dengue vaccine to almost one million children without sufficient study on its effects.
“Hindi iyong tayo ang naglalaban-laban sa gobyerno. Hindi tama iyon. Mali po iyang direksyon na tinatahak ng ibang grupo. Tandaan natin. We have to be one here in putting together a very solid a very good case against Sanofi,” said the health chief.
(We in the government should not fight each other. It’s not right. The path being followed by other groups is wrong. Let’s remember that we have to be one here in putting together a very solid a very good case against Sanofi.)
Duque said that the two agencies should cooperate in order to properly guide vaccinees in terms of their medical needs.
But PAO chief Atty. Percida Acosta said they cannot cooperate with the DOH due to conflict of interest.
Several officials of DOH are being linked to the Dengvaxia anomaly.
Acosta said the DOH task force does not even recognize the PAO expert panel and the result of their autopsy on the remains of children whose deaths were being linked to Dengvaxia.
She claims the health department also refused to provide PAO with the master list of vaccinees.
In response, the DOH said that the autopsy cannot prove that the deaths of some vaccinees were due to Dengvaxia.
It can be noted this had been the same statement of dengue expert Dr. Scott Halstead during a Senate hearing last March 13. — Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue
The National Capital Region (NCR) has recorded more than 11,000 dengue cases from January to August 10 this year.
This is 33% higher than what was recorded in the past five years.
“It’s starting to rise and just like the other regions that began with the alert levels, naging epidemic level na sila [they’ve reached the epidemic level]. Pwede pa ring sumipa ang dengue. Kaya hindi ho tayo pwedeng magpahinay-hinay [Dengue case can still go up. That’s why we should not be complacent],” Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque said.
The cities in the NCR where dengue cases have spiked include Paranaque, Malabon, Taguig, Makati, and Mandaluyong.
The DOH clarified that no medicine, supplement, or vaccine had been proven to cure dengue.
The health department also supports the move of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to fund the distribution of food supplements which may help increase an individual’s platelet count to avoid dengue.
“Wala namang gamot ang dengue. Wala ring bakuna. At kung meron man sila ng inaalay na makakagamot, hindi po totoo iyan. Ito po ay food suppmement lamang at kinakailangan merong FDA certificate of product registration [There is no medicine for dengue. No vaccine either. And if there are some who offer something that’s supposed to cure dengue, it’s not true. It’s just a food supplement and it needs to have FDA certificate of product registration],” Duque added.
The health official then reminded the public to clean their surroundings and eradicate dengue-mosquito breeding areas through the 4 o’clock habit using the 4S strategy:
Search and Destroy
Seek Early Consultation
Support Space Spraying
This is to further prevent the number of dengue cases in Metro Manila to further exceed the health department’s alert threshold. (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf
MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman on Friday confirmed it is investigating Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta and Forensic Laboratory chief Dr. Erwin Erfe for alleged graft and corruption.
In a statement, the Ombudsman said it is currently conducting preliminary and administrative adjudication against Acosta and Erfe on corruption allegations within PAO including the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine issue.
The case stemmed from the complaints filed early this year by lawyer Wilfredo Garrido Jr. who sought for the suspension of Acosta and Erfe for allegedly committing corruption, falsification, malversation and illegal use of public funds or property.
The two PAO officials supposedly made money in alleged illegal purchases of office supplies for their crusade against Dengvaxia in 2018.
Acosta was also accused of using PAO budget to hold seminars at luxury hotels as she supposedly receives a commission for every gathering.
The Ombudsman said that after Garrido’s complaints were evaluated and docketed in April 2019, an order was immediately issued, directing the respondents to file their respective counter-affidavits.
“Records from the criminal and administrative cases show that respondents are facing criminal charges for violation of Sections 3(e) and 3(j) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices), Falsification by Public Officer, Malversation and Illegal Use of Public Funds or Property,” the statement read.
Administrative charges for Grave Misconduct, Serious Dishonesty, Grave Abuse of Authority and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, were also leveled against Acosta and Erfe,” it added.
Acosta and Erfe have denied the allegations in a consolidated counter-affidavit they filed last April 30.
The Office of the Ombudsman said several other pleadings were filed by the respective parties during the course of the investigation, including the one signed by alleged “DOJ PAO lawyers.”
The Ombudsman said that as of August, the parties were directed to file their respective verified position papers containing their positions, supporting evidence and defenses.
“The corruption allegations against the high-ranking PAO officials will be judiciously scrutinized and the cases shall be resolved solely on the basis of the evidence presented by the parties,” Ombudsman Samuel Martires said.
Malacañang earlier said it will not interfere with the case.
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