MalacaAang hands off on move to indict Garin over Dengvaxia

MalacaAang on Sunday said it will not interfere with the decision of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to indict former Health Secretary and current Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin and her co respondents over the second batch of Dengvaxia complaints concerning the deaths of eight children who received the anti dengue vaccine.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Palace has never meddled with the decision of the courts.

That's for the court to decide. Basta nasa korte na 'yan (It is now up to the court)We won't interfere, we're not interested. Let the court do its work, Panelo said in an interview over dzIQ.

Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, rejected claims that controversy over the Dengvaxia was being politicized.

Never naman nagkaroon ng halong politika. Pag dinemanda ka, ibig sabihin may probable cause. Walang politiko diyan (It never included politics. If charges were filed against you, it means there's probable cause. There's no politics involved), he said.

In a statement on Friday, the DOJ said the panel of prosecutors has found probable cause to indict Garin and her co respondents with reckless imprudence resulting to homicide.

The DOJ said the prosecutors' findings showed Garin and other government officials manifested "inexcusable lack of precaution" and carelessness in using the anti dengue vaccine for the government's mass immunization program in 2016 despite potential health risks.

The panel also recommended the indictment of the executives of Pasteur Sanofi, the manufacturer of Dengvaxia, for violating the Consumer Act of the Philippines.

If convicted, Garin and the other respondents face up to six years in prison for each of the accusations.

Garin claimed that the issue was only "politicized" but vowed to face her charges without fear.

She insisted that science has proven over and over again that no deaths have been linked to the Dengvaxia vaccine.

In February this year, DOH's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permanently revoked the certificates of product registration issued to Dengvaxia over the failure of vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur to submit post approval papers.

In 2017, the government stopped its dengue immunization program using Dengvaxia after Sanofi came out with advisory which said patients who had no prior exposure to dengue virus could suffer severe symptoms if vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

Sanofi maintained no death was confirmed to have been caused by Dengvaxia, stressing that it was ready to present evidence to support its claim that Dengvaxia is safe and effective."

SOURCE: PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY

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