Sen. Gordon : “Former President Aquino III should apologize for the government’s P3.5-billion Dengvaxia vaccine purchase – Groundless News
Senator Richard Gordon on Sunday said former President Benigno Aquino III should own up and apologize for the government’s P3.5-billion Dengvaxia vaccine purchase during his time. Gordon told Super Radyo dzBB that he has completed the Senate blue ribbom committee’s recommendations on the Dengvaxia controversy. He said that in committee report, Aquino seemed to be…
Senator Richard Gordon on Sunday said former President Benigno Aquino III should own up and apologize for the government’s P3.5-billion Dengvaxia vaccine purchase during his time.
Gordon told Super Radyo dzBB that he has completed the Senate blue ribbom committee’s recommendations on the Dengvaxia controversy.
He said that in committee report, Aquino seemed to be trying to avoid responsibility from the Dengvaxia mess.
“In fact, I have a statement tomorrow na parang yung Dengvaxia umiiwas talaga ang Pangulo katulad sa Mamasapano umiwas din siya. Aba’y dapat own up, own up to his responsibility ‘di ba. Kinausap niya yung si [Alan] Purisima, kinausap niya rin yung sa Sanofi na unethical,” he said.
The senator, however, said an apology will not absolve the former president from possible liability.
“No it will not, it will not exculpate him eh kasi dapat panagutan ‘yan eh,” he said, adding that Aquino’s meetings with Sanofi Pasteur’s officials were “unethical.”
Gordon said the recommendations will be part of the committee report, which he will finish after determining the possible “accountability” of the people involved in the purchase of the dengue vaccine.
He insisted during the interview that the purchase of the billions of pesos worth of vaccines from Sanofi Pasteur was made in haste, citing a meeting between Aquino and the pharmaceutical company’s officials in Paris in 2015.
Based on the blue ribbon committee’s timeline, the Special Allotment Relese Order for the Dengvaxia purchase was issued during the same month of Aquino’s meeting with Sanofi officials in December 2015.
Aquino has denied that the purchase of the vaccines was rushed.
“…Yung Sanofi, dalawang beses mo kinausap eh nagbebenta ‘yan eh at tuwing kinakausap mo bumibilis tapos… isinisi niya kay [former Health secretary] Enrique Ona na siya raw nagbigay ng panguna eh,” Gordon said.
Aquino said before the Senate blue ribbon committee in December last year that his administration began to focus on dengue after receiving a memo from Ona back ni 2010.
He said the memo highlighted that there were five regions that reported alarming increases in dengue cases, adding that around 2.8 million people were at risk of contracting dengue then.
Aquino met with officials of the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur on November 9, 2014 in Beijing, China and on December 1, 2015 in Paris, France.
Meanwhile, the former president has retracted his earlier statement that Ona was with him at a meeting with Sanofi officials in China, saying that he had several official meetings during his six-year term and he couldn’t clearly remember who among Cabinet officials were with him in particular meetings.
Aquino is already facing two complaints over the Dengvaxia mess before the Office of the Ombudsman.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption said Saturday it may include Aquino and former Health secretary Janette Garin in the plunder complaints it fill lodge before the Ombudsman.
The Public Attorney’s Office is also building up a case related to the Dengvaxia mess, based on complaints of some parents whose children died of dengue after receiving the vaccine.
Garin was the Health secretary when the anti-dengue immunization program, using the Dengvaxia vaccine, was launched by the government in April 2016.
At least 830,000 public school students have been vaccinated with Dengvaxia in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Metro Manila, and Cebu according to the Department of Health.
The vaccination program of the DOH initially targeted a million children. It was to be given in three doses spaced six months apart.
It was however put on hold in December last year following Sanofi’s advisory that Dengvaxia should not be given to patients who have not had dengue in the past as it may cause severe diseases in the long run.
Sanofi has been fined P100,000 while the Dengvaxia’s certificate of product registration was suspended by the Food and Drug Administration.
Sanofi has also agreed to reimburse the Philippine government for the P1.4 billion unsused stock of Dengvaxia.