PAO asks SC to consolidate Dengvaxia cases in QC court

MANILA The Public Attorney's Office (PAO) on Thursday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to consolidate before one court the criminal and civil cases in connection with the deaths allegedly arising from the Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine.

In a 25-page suit, families of victims whose criminal complaints were among the initial batch of criminal cases ordered by the Department Justice (DOJ) filed before various courts with the help of the PAO asked the tribunal that the cases instead be transferred and consolidated before the Family Court of Quezon City.

The cases are now pending before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC); San Pedro, Laguna Municipal Trial Court (MTC); Muntinlupa City MeTC; Balanga, Bataan MTC; and Caloocan City MeTC.

The PAO also sought the designation of a special court under the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to hear and decide on Dengvaxia civil cases.

PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said she sees more cases filed in the coming days and informed the SC that the office has already identified 120 deaths in connection with Dengvaxia.

"Considering the declaration of Sanofi of the adverse effects of the Dengvaxia vaccine, there is a great probability that more deaths will occur in the succeeding days, thus, the filing of more cases involving death of Dengvaxia recipients is not remote," Acosta said.

Neither undue advantage to nor prejudice to the substantial rights of any of the parties will result from joining the trial of the instant cases. On the contrary, all parties, both the prosecution and the defense, as well as the court, will benefit from conducting a joint trial as it will save them time, expense and hardship entailed in conducting multiple trials in various courts spread in three judicial regions, and in repeatedly presenting/evaluating witnesses and evidences intended to prove one and the same fact, she added.

About 833,000 schoolchildren from indigent families underwent inoculation even as the vaccine was still under clinical trial phase 2 and without the appropriate screening and blood tests. Around 12,000 police officers were also vaccinated.

As of Wednesday, the PAO forensic team has already examined the cadavers of 129 Dengvaxia recipients who exhibited a common pattern of having had no clinical history of dengue infection except for one victim.

In all the deaths, the victims also had not been hospitalized prior to vaccination and became sick immediately after vaccination anywhere between a day after or up to three or four months and had to be hospitalized after complaining of headache, abdominal pain, fever, loss of appetite, rashes and difficulty of breathing.

The vaccine recipients died as early as seven days and up to 31 months after the vaccination of up to three doses of the Dengvaxia vaccine. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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