Gordon insists on raps vs. Aquino, Abad over Dengvaxia

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 2) — Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairperson Richard "Dick" Gordon is insisting on his panel's recommendation for former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad over the controversial anti-dengue Dengvaxia vaccine.

"Kailangan silipin mabuti ang involvement ni dating Presidente Aquino at Budget Secretary Abad dahil sila ang nagpabilis ng pagbili ng Dengvaxia vaccines. Dapat masampahan agad sila ng kaso because justice delayed is justice denied," Gordon said in a tweet on Saturday.

[Translation: They need to carefully look in to the involvement of former President Aquino and Budget Secretary Abad because they sped up the procurement of Dengvaxia vaccines. Cases should be filed against them because justice delayed is justice denied.]

While Gordon commended the Justice department for indicting former Health Secretary Janette Garin and nine other officials of the Health department, he said it should have found cause to charge them for illegal procurement and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

He said those involved should not have been charged with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide because there is not enough evidence, which proves that Dengvaxia is the reason behind the deaths of children who received the vaccine.

The Justice department said Garin, the other indicted government officials, and officers of Dengvaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur "totally disregarded the identified risks and adverse effects of the vaccine."

It also said that they exhibited an "inexcusable lack of precaution and foresight" when they went ahead with the registration and purchase of Dengvaxia, and used it for a school-based mass immunization program.

Gordon's Blue Ribbon committee previously recommended that Aquino, Abad, Garin and other officials be slapped with graft raps over the allegedly irregular procurement of the Dengvaxia vaccine, which cost the government ₱3.5 billion.

Dengvaxia was administered to over 800,000 schoolchildren before Sanofi-Pasteur disclosed that the vaccine could cause "severe disease" among those who have not yet been infected with dengue.

Several deaths have been linked to the vaccine, but none of these claims have been definitively proven by experts.