Don’t blame PAO’s Acosta for vaccine ‘scare’ — DOJ chief
MANILA, Philippines – Public Attorneys’ Office (PAO) Chief Persida Rueda-Acosta cannot be blamed for a perceived vaccine scare which has purportedly led to an outbreak of measles in the country, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Thursday.
“PAO Chief Acosta is just doing her job and certainly does not intend to scare the public about the possible negative effects of vaccination in general,” Guevarra said in a statement.
Acosta has been filing criminal complaints against former and incumbent health officials following the death children inoculated by the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine.
PAO’s Forensic Team conducted forensic examination on several children and a government doctor who died after getting the vaccine.
PAO maintained that there was negligence on the part of the government in screening potential recipients of the vaccine since Sanofi Pasteur itself declared that a recipient who had not yet contracted dengue would have a higher risk of developing severe diseases.
Guevarra said he already ordered the DOJ panels to resolve this month the Dengvaxia related cases filed at the DOJ.
“I have directed the Dengvaxia investigating panels to resolve the cases this month,” Guevarra said.
“The DOH, with the President’s support, will launch a vigorous campaign to inform the people about the necessity of vaccination to prevent common illnesses such as flu and measles,” he added.
The Dengvaxia-related complaint filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) has been submitted for resolution.
On the other hand, PAO has filed more than 30 complaints against former and incumbent health officials.
The DOJ, through a panel chaired by Assistant State Prosecutor Maria Emilia Victorio, already concluded the preliminary investigation on the first batch of cases involving the deaths of nine schoolchildren – Aejay Bautista, Angelica Pestilos, Lenard Baldonado, Zandro Colite, Abbie Hedia, Jansyn Bataan, Mark Axel Ebonia, Rey Justin Almagno and Alexander Jaime.
A separate investigating panel chaired by Senior Associate Prosecutor Susan Dacanay has also concluded the PI in the second batch of cases involving eight victims – Clarissa Alcantara, Christine Mae De Guzman, Erico Leabres, Roshaine Cariño, Naomi Nimura, John Paul Rafael, Michael Tablate and Christine Joy Asuncion.
Meanwhile, the DOJ has yet to start the PI on the third batch of cases involving 13 victims – Wiljen Alcontin, Eleazar Brigoli Jr., Trishanne Asona, EJ Christian Apa, Joaniña Cortes, Gladimeir Juevesano, Kianah Mae Racuya, Adeline Castroverde, Jessica Viaros, Senior Police Officer 2 Vicente Arugay, Shiela Mae Guerra,s Gillian Vasquez; and Kristen Jean Martira.
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