MANILA Government lawyers on Monday gave former Health Secretary Janette Garin more time to answer the criminal charges against her in connection with the multi-billion-peso Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine fiasco, after she failed to appear during the preliminary investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Garin, in a text message to reporters, claimed she was not notified by her lawyer of the hearing which was attended by 23 of the 37 respondents who were able to appear in the hearing and submit their counter-affidavits.
The Public Attorney's Office (PAO) said at least 94 deaths resulted from the controversial vaccine initiated during Garin's term.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Dacanay asked Garin to submit her answer to charges filed by parents and guardians of the second batch of eight more victims.
Following the former DOH secretary's no-show, the prosecution panel gave her and 13 other respondents more time to answer the charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide under the Revised Penal Code and violations of Anti-Torture Act and Consumer Act and appear in the next hearing set for November 5.
Garin and the others face charges of negligence through "arbitrarily, maliciously, and deliberately failing to inform the Dengvaxia recipients and their parents/families of the dangers and risks related to Dengvaxia and to obtain their informed consent."
The complainants said the respondents "displayed grave recklessness, utter bad faith, lack of foresight, lack of skill, want of care, gross neglect and deliberate, arbitrary and even malicious disregard of the safety and lives of thousands of Filipino children." (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency