DOJ clears Ubial on Dengvaxia case

Maris Federez   •   April 4, 2019   •   2755

Former Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has dismissed a criminal complaint against former Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial on the controversial Dengvaxia case.

Ubial was one of the Department of Health former and present officials who were accused of being liable in the deaths of school children who got inoculated with the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

In a seven-page resolution signed by Assistant State Prosecutor Claire Eufracia Pagayanan, the DOJ said it found no probable cause to charge Ubial with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide based on the complaint filed by former Health Secretary Janette Garin.

The resolution reads, “considering that Garin failed to show the existence of the corpus delicti of the crime of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide, the complaint against Ubial shall be dismissed for lack of probable cause.”

The DOJ explained that in order to establish Ubial’s liability on the crime charged there must be a direct causal connection between such negligence and the reported deaths.

The resolution further pointed out that “Garin failed to name a single victim who reportedly died as a result of Ubial’s alleged negligent approval and implementation of community-based Dengue immunization program.”

In her complaint, Garin stressed that the Department of Health (DOH) implemented a school-based dengue immunization program but, when Ubial took over, there was a reckless decision to have it expanded into a community-based program which resulted in the reported deaths.

“Deaths were reported soon after the implementation of Sec. Ubial’s Community-Based Dengue Immunization Program. It must be emphasized that the deaths started during Sec. Ubial’s term as DOH Secretary and afterwards,” Garin pointed out.

Garin further said that the DOH, during her time, preferred the school-based dengue immunization program “because the physical and organizational structure of such a program is already in place considering that Dengvaxia is already the sixth (6th) vaccine introduced in schools.”

It can be recalled that on February 11, the DOJ inked a resolution of finding probable cause to charge Garin and nine other Health officials on the Dengvaxia vaccine mess. – Maris Federez

Child with polio from Laguna to be brought to Metro Manila – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – A five-year old boy from Laguna, who was earlier confirmed as the country’s second case of polio, is set to be transferred to Metro Manila, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

DOH Region 4A director Eduardo Janairo said this is to closely monitor the child’s health as he who is also suffering from other ailments.

The DOH earlier said the latest case of polio was reported to be from an immunocompromised child who is suffering from multiple pediatric diseases.

“Mula nung 2014 nabigyan (siya) ng anti-polio noon, lumabas na yung iba’t ibang sakit. May thalassemia siya, mayroong Hirschsprung, kaya naoperahan pa raw yun eh… nagtatae dahil yung bituka niya naka block eh,” Janairo said.

The boy has been discharged from the hospital and is able to walk after experiencing the onset of paralysis last August.

Janairo said there is a need to monitor the child’s condition as he is severely malnourished.

“Tsaka may ibang sakit kaya binabantayan siya ngayon. Kaya gusto ni (DOH) Sec. (Francisco Duque III) dalhin sa Maynila para maalagaan sa ospital,” he added.

The first case of polio in the Philippines was a three-year old girl from Lanao del Sur.

The DOH also said that poliovirus has been detected in water sewage samples taken from Manila and Davao during a regular environmental surveillance.

Its re-emergence in two different locations has prompted health officials to declare a polio outbreak after 19 years of being polio-free.

The DOH said there is no cure for polio and it can only be prevented with multiple doses of polio vaccines that have long been proven safe and effective.

A series of synchronized oral polio immunization program for children under the age of five in areas at risk beginning October.

The department also reminded the public anew to practice good personal hygiene, wash their hands regularly, use toilets, drink safe water and to cook food thoroughly to avoid contracting disease. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Sherwin Culubong)

DOH confirms second polio case in Philippines

Robie de Guzman   •   September 20, 2019

DOH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Rotary International’s 10 Districts to heighten polio awareness and vaccination campaign in light of the reemergence of poliomyelitis in the country. (Courtesy: Department of Health)

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday confirmed a second case of polio a day after it announced the re-emergence of the disease in the country after nearly 20 years.

In a statement, the DOH said that a five-year old boy from Laguna is the second confirmed case of the highly infectious disease after his samples sent to the Japan National Institute for Infectious Diseases tested positive for polio virus.

The department said the latest case was reported to be from an immunocompromised child who is suffering from multiple pediatric diseases.

The boy experienced the onset of paralysis last August 25. He has discharged from the hospital and is able to walk. He is closely being monitored for residual symptoms. 

On Thursday, the DOH confirmed that the first case of polio was a three-year old girl from Lanao del Sur.

Poliovirus was detected in water sewage samples taken from Manila and Davao during a regular environmental surveillance.

Its re-emergence in two different locations has prompted officials to declare a polio outbreak.

The DOH said there is no cure for polio and it can only be prevented with multiple doses of polio vaccines that have long been proven safe and effective.

“We continue to urge parents and caregivers of children below five years old, health workers, and local chief executives to take part in the synchronized polio vaccination to be scheduled in their communities,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III was quoted saying in the statement.

He added that this is the only way to stop the spread of this debilitating, and sometimes fatal, disease.

The health chief earlier said that the government is set to launch a series of synchronized oral polio immunization program for children under the age of five in areas at risk beginning October.

The department will also work with partners to strengthen environmental and Acute Flaccid Paralysis surveillance throughout the country to detect poliovirus.

“We are also reiterating our advisory to the public to practice good personal hygiene, wash their hands regularly, to use toilets, drink safe water, and to cook food thoroughly,” he said.

DOJ asks PNP to suspend re-arrest of GCTA-freed heinous crimes convicts

Robie de Guzman   •   September 20, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested the Philippine National Police (PNP) to temporarily suspend the operation to re-arrest heinous crimes convicts wrongly released under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law after the deadline for them to surrender lapsed.

In a radio interview on Friday, Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said they made the request on Thursday night in order to thoroughly check the list of heinous crime convicts submitted by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

Perete noted the list contains some errors which could pose possible violence and other problems such as mistaken identity during the manhunt operation.

Also included in the list were some names of prisoners released under parole and pardon.

At least 1,950 persons deprived of liberty (PDL) surrendered to authorities as of midnight of Thursday when President Rodrigo Duterte’s 15-day deadline ended.

The number of surrenderers is higher than the 1,914 heinous crime convicts on the original list given by BuCor.

Perete said they already ordered BuCor to immediately release the persons who turned themselves in even if they are not included in the list.

The 1,914 heinous criminals were freed earlier because their sentences were shortened for good behavior under the Republic Act 10592.

Duterte earlier ordered these convicts to surrender within 15 days for the recomputation of their good conduct credits or be treated as fugitives from justice after the deadline.

He also offered P1 million bounty for the capture of each freed heinous crime convicts.

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