MANILA — Malacañang on Wednesday said it respects the recommendation of the two House panels to file graft charges against former President Benigno ‘Nonoy’ Aquino III and some former officials over the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine.
“We defer to the House of Representatives, belonging to a separate and co-equal branch of government, on its recommendation to file charges against officials of the previous administration and other private individuals over the government’s suspended dengue vaccination program,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
“Let the legal process take its course and those found responsible be held administratively, criminally and civilly liable,” he added.
Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, said the Department of Justice (DOJ) will conduct its investigation to determine if there is probable cause against Aquino and the other officials.
“We reiterate the policy of the administration that whoever transgresses the law will have to account for it regardless of the social status and the political affiliation of the transgressor,” he said.
The House committee on good government and public accountability, as well as the committee on health on Wednesday, recommended the filing of graft and technical malversation charges against Aquino, former Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, and former Health Secretary Janette Garin.
The two committees also said Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) executive director Julius Lecciones, Maria Joyce Ducusin, Rosalind Vianzon, Mario Baquilod, Estrella Paje-Villar, and members of the PCMC bids and awards committee may be held liable.
The Department of Health earlier urged the public and government officials to stop spreading baseless allegations against the agency in connection with the suspended anti-dengue vaccination program.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte also urged parents not to let the Dengvaxia scare stop them from having their children vaccinated against other infectious diseases. (PNA) By Earl Jed Roque