Raps vs. Aquino over Dengvaxia fiasco resolved by end-March


MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) may resolve within the month the criminal complaints against former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and others implicated in the undue haste in the procurement of the multi-billion peso government contract for the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

Baka within the month (Maybe within the month it will be released),” DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters Monday when sought for comment on the status of the complaint filed against the former chief executive by two groups, the Volunteers against Crime Corruption (VACC) and the Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc. (VCPI).

Sen. Richard Gordon earlier urged the DOJ to look closely into Aquino’s possible liability in the PHP3.5-billion purchase of the vaccine.

“I have already explained to Sen. Gordon that former President Aquino, (former Budget) Sec. Butch Abad, et al. are facing a different complaint (anti-graft, violation of the procurement law, etc.) which is also up for resolution by the DOJ very soon,” Guevarra explained.

Aquino and his co-respondents are accused of having committed violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act (RA) 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; technical malversation under Section 65(3) of RA 9184, the Government Procurement Reform Act; and reckless imprudence resulting multiple homicide through criminal negligence under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code.

Charged along with Aquino are Abad, Garin, and former and current Department of Health (DOH) officials included as respondents are Undersecretaries Carol Tanio, Gerardo Bayugo, Lilibeth David, and Mario Villaverde; Assistant Secretaries Lyndon Lee Suy and Nestor Santiago; Directors Laureano Cruz, Joyce Ducusin, Mar Wynn Bello, Leonila Gorgolon, Rio Magpantay, Ariel Valencia, and Julius Lecciones; retired Undersecretary Nemesio Gako; resigned Undersecretaries Vicente Belizario Jr. and Kenneth Hartigan-Go; and resigned executive assistant to Garin, Dr. Yolanda Oliveros.

Sanofi Pasteur and local distributor Zuellig Pharma officials were also named as co-respondents in the complaint.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) likewise filed in July 2018 a criminal complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against Aquino, Abad, and Garin over their alleged involvement in the anomalous purchase of the vaccine.

Another DOJ panel has released last February 27 its resolution finding probable cause to indict Garin and 19 others for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide for their liability in the deaths of eight children who got shots of the vaccine. (PNA) By Benjamin Pulta

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