Senate blue ribbon on Dengvaxia mess: Aquino simply did not care

A Senate Blue Ribbon committee report suggested that Former President Aquino III, and 2 other Cabinet officials are primary collaborators and should be criminally liable for the controversial procurement and use of the Dengvaxia vaccine.
The draft released on Wednesday revealed that the former president is guilty of ‘malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance’            that caused “irreversible damage” to innocent children and their left-behind parents and guardians.
By ‘simply not caring’, Aquino placed the lives of many Filipino children at serious jeopardy, according to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

The report reads: "He simply did not care. Manhid siya at walang malasakit. Napakaraming magulang ang nag-aalala, balisa at hindi makatulog. Hindi nila matiyak kung ano ang sasapitin ng kanilang mga supling (There are so many parents who were worried, anxious and unable to sleep. They cannot guarantee what will happen to their offsprings),"

Aquino also violated Republic Act 6713 known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees for conducting discreet meetings only with high-ranking officials of Sanofi – Pasteur, as mentioned in the committee draft report.

Referring to public officials and government employees, Section 4B of Republic Act 6713 emphasizes that the concerned "shall perform and discharge their duties with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism, intelligence, and skill. They shall endeavor to discourage wrong perceptions of their roles as dispensers or peddlers of undue patronage."

The draft report also read that: "By meeting with mere senior vice presidents of Sanofi-Pasteur, he was sending a strong message or perception that he was dispensing undue patronage".

Meanwhile, Aquino’s spokesperson Abigail Valte said that the former president is open to confront any more complaints to be filed against him pertaining to the Dengvaxia case.

In a statement, Valta said: "Former President Aquino has always demonstrated his readiness to answer questions about his decisions as president. His consistent participation in legislative investigations and other venues shows this".

The committee also recommended the prosecution of former Department of Budget Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad, and former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette Garin for the hurried acquisition of the vaccine despite several protests from local and international experts.

Despite having no allocation approved by the Congress, the ‘undue haste’ of the supposed anti-dengue vaccine procurement was made possible through the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) amounting to P3.5 Billion -  which was apparently authorized by the former president within the 45-day election ban in 2016.

“To get SARO alone is very hard, but to get SARO from savings of this magnitude of P3.5 billion leaves no doubt that it can only be done with the president’s knowledge and approval,” the Senate committee said.

Aquino, however, defended that the purchase order was allegedly signed 2 weeks prior to the election ban, 2 years ago.

In a statement, Aquino said: "This complaint is based on imagination and wrong intention. It is clear that this failed the standards of the law and truth."


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