Ex-Pres. Aquino: Dengvaxia project didn’t violate any law

MANILA Former President Benigno Aquino III reiterated that that he did not violate any law when he approved the implementation of the mass dengue vaccination program in April 2016.

With this, he believes that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will dismiss the complaint which he described as based on imagination and wrong purpose.

The complaint is based on imagination and wrong purpose. It is very clear that it failed in all standards of the law and the truth. It is also very clear that this kind of complaint should be junked. We are expecting that the Comelec will do the right thing, by dismissing the complaint as soon as possible, Aquino stated during a press briefing after filing his counter-affidavit before the Comelec Law Department on Thursday.

He noted that he felt dizzy when he read the complaint filed by Dr. Francis Cruz and Dr. Clarito Cairo, Jr. since it did not clearly state what law was violated and how it was violated.

The truth is, I felt dizzy. The reason, the complaint failed to show what and how the law was violated. I did not do anything wrong. I'm confident that it is impossible to prove something that did not happen. Just like me, when you read the complaint, you'll see that it's insignificant, Aquino added.

He pointed out that the project was not implemented inside the prescribed period of the election ban since the purchase order for Dengvaxia was tendered on March 9, 2016, which is 16 days before the start of the prohibition on March 25, 2016.

On the other hand, former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette Garin, another respondent in the case, said the Dengvaxia program was purely a health project and was not used for political purposes.

There was absolutely no politics involved in the school-based dengue immunization program I implemented. The recipients of the program are not voters. It could not have swayed any election results, she said.

Everything is above board and is beyond politics. It is a purely health issue, added Garin who personally submitted her counter-affidavit before the poll body's Law Department, as required by the latter.

At the same time, Aquino believes that the purpose of the complaint is purely an act of harassment.

Why did they file this complaint? It is clear that the point of all this is harassment. It seems that some are correct in saying that the end goal for this is not justice, but rather get attention in order to be appointed in office, he added.

Earlier, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) charged Aquino, Garin, and other health officials for violating election laws when they started implementing the controversial program on April 4, 2016, which is within the 45-day election ban on government projects for the May 2016 elections.

Under the Omnibus Election Code, it is prohibited to release, disburse, or spend public funds for any public official or employee, including barangay officials and those of government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries, 45 days before a regular election.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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