Garin confirms attendance for March 15 Comelec hearing

MANILA Former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette Garin assured her attendance at the hearing set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) next week on the Dengue Immunization Program.

I welcome the invitation from the Comelec and will attend the slated hearing on March 15, she said in a statement sent to reporters.

The former government official noted that she would be able to explain that the program was not part of a political exercise.

It will allow me to show that the immunization program was not at all part of a political exercise as others are trying to make it appear, but was already part of DOH program to find a solution to a real health concern at that time which was dengue, she said.

In 2013 and 2015 over 200,000 incidence of dengue cases were recorded. We were number 1 in the Western Pacific Region according to the WHO. The dengue immunization program was a response to this health crisis, Garin added.

The former Health chief reiterated that politics have nothing to do with the program.

Had the program been a political one, then it would not have been school based, but community based. And had it been political in nature, why did Secretary (Paulyn) Ubial continue and expand it, she said.

I assure the public that there was no politics involved in the vaccination program that we launched during my term as Secretary of the DOH, Garin added.

Garin, together with former President Benigno Aquino III, former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and other former and current DOH officials have been summoned on the complaint filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) in connection with the implementation of the dengue immunization program before the May 2016 national and local polls.

Aside from the March 15 hearing, the poll body has given other respondents until Thursday to file their counter-affidavits on the case filed by Drs. Francis Cruz and Clarito Cairo Jr.

They were ordered to submit their pleadings before Atty. Erwin Villarin, Atty. Abigail Claire Carbero-Llacuna and Atty. Nancy Hadap-Villanueva at the Comelec Law Department located at the 8th Floor, Palacio del Gobernador, Intramuros, Manila.

In their affidavit-complaint, Cruz and Cairo accused the respondents of violating several provision of the Omnibus Elections Code (OEC) over the implementation of the controversial program ahead of the 2016 polls.

Both believed that the government officials committed an election offense when they used public funds, for an election campaign despite prohibition by the OEC.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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