Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said he signed the draft Senate committee report regarding the Dengvaxia controversy but with reservations.
The senator is not convinced that former President Benigno Aquino III is criminally liable for the P3.5-billion anti-dengue vaccination program.
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee draft report chaired by Senator Richard Gordon, said that the former president , with cabinet secretaries Butch Abad and Janet Garin should be charged over the Dengvaxia mess.
Gordon in the report said that Aquino along with other government officials implemented the anti-dengue mass vaccination with ‘undue haste’ and should be prosecuted for graft and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
“Si Garin, being a doctor, he relied on the advice of the former Secretary pagdating sa pag-administer dito ng (when it came to the administration of) Dengvaxia. Wala rin akong nakitang report na sinadya ni PNoy na i-administer ito (I also did not see any report that he intentionally administered it) or showed hidden motives or bad faith. So I would assume that he administered Dengvaxia because of the advice of his Secretary for Health,” he said.
Gatchalian said while the former President may not be held liable , still he should be held liable for the Dengvaxia mess.
"Hindi ako kumbinsido na criminally liable siya. (I am not convinced that he is criminally liable.) He might be accountable to the whole program because at the end, he is the president, and the president should be accountable to all actions of the government. However, criminally liable, hindi ako sang-ayon doon, dahil nga at the end, si Secretary Garin ang nagrekomenda (I don’t agree with that because in the end, Secretary Garin made the recommendation)," he said.
The senator said Aquino’s legal liability should be studied carefully but he is accountable, being the head of the government.
“But accountability doesn't mean that you are also criminally liable, so pag-aaralan natin ang participation niya pagdating dito (let us study his participation here),” he added.
Investigations, in fact, pointed to Garin as the “prime mover” of the botched program because it was she who made the recommendation, Gatchalian said.
“Siya talaga ang gumawa ng paraan para magkaroon ng budget dahil wala naman talagang budget ito eh -- from zero budget nagkaroon ng PHP3.5 billion budget -- at siya rin ang gumawa ng paraan para malagay ito sa Philippines’ Children Center. (It was she who found the budget -- from zero to PHP3.5 billion. She also found a way to put it at the Philippines’ Children Center.) So she is really the prime mover of this Dengvaxia fiasco,” he said.
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Report from PNA