The Senate blue ribbon committee is poised to have former Pres. Benigno Aquino III held accountable in the P3.5 billion Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine mess, along with his former Department of Health (DOH) Sec. Janette Garin. Ahead of the official panel report, committee chair Sen.
The Senate blue ribbon committee is poised to have former Pres. Benigno Aquino III held accountable in the P3.5 billion Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine mess, along with his former Department of Health (DOH) Sec. Janette Garin.
Ahead of the official panel report, committee chair Sen. Richard Gordon told dzBB Sunday that Aquino was likely to be held liable as a mere apology would not be enough after placing at risks the lives and health those thousands who were given Dengvaxia shots.
“I will be very, very frank, very, very hard hitting (in my recommendation on Aquino) because it is time na (may) managot), to own up eh,” the senator said.
“At the very least, ngayon pa lang mag-apologize na sya. (But) it will not, it will not exculpate him kasi dapat panagutan yan,” Gordon said.
The senator likened Aquino’s accountability in the anti-dengue vaccine controversy to the Mamasapano case where he found unethical the former president’s decision to meet up and discuss the execution of Oplan Oxodus, the botched police operation in Maguindanao, with then suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima.
In the Dengvaxia case, Gordon said it was unethical for Aquino to meet the executives of the drug manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, which supplied the vaccines not just once, but twice.
“At tuwing kinakausap mo (Aquino) bumibilis,” Gordon said, referring to the process or transaction related to the acquisition of the vaccines and which he also noted were obviously expedited during the last few months in office of the Aquino administration.
Garin could not likely be far behind while her predecessor, former Health Sec. Enrique Ona was likely be exonerated by the blue ribbon.
“Si Ona palagay ko wala eh. Si Garin tyak yan mananagot yan kailangan talaga magpaliwanag ng husto yan [kase pinanindigan niya yung desisyon] nd that is to her credit. Pangatlo si (former Sec. Paulyn) Ubial, napilitan siyang mag tuloy, that is her defense,” Gordon said.
In clearing Ona from any accountability, the senator attributed this to the fact that the former DOH chief was not in two meetings –one in Paris and another in Beijing, China – that was arranged between Aquino and Sanofi executives.
Gordon does not see any reason to hold Ona liable for being the one responsible in introducing the vaccine to the Aquino government.
“Walang bansa na hindi nangungunsider na may gamot sa dengue. Walang bansa. Kung meron mang gamot, babantaya mo ‘yan pero hihintayin mo muna mga testing,” he said.
Gordon said he was likely to wrap up soon the hearings after they have ascertained the accountability of key personalities.
“In fact I have a statement tomorrow (na) parang yung Dengvaxia (issue), umiiwas na naman yung (dating) Pangulo (Aquino), katulad sa Mamasapano, umiwas din sya,” he said.
But unlike in the Mamasapano case where Aquino was named the “ultimate responsible”, Gordon dropped hints that he will call for heavier recommendation.
“Salita lang yun (findings on Aquino in Mamasapano probe of Senate) pero kailangan merong palo,” he said.