Dengvaxia probe panel recommends criminal charges against ex-president Aquino

The majority of senators are expected to sign an investigative report on the Dengvaxia vaccine that recommends the filing of criminal charges against former president Benigno Aquino 3rd and some of his cabinet members involved in the procurement of the anti-dengue vaccine, The Manila Times Online reported on Monday (Apr 16).

Chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee Senator Richard Gordon disclosed on Sunday that at least 10 senators had expressed intention to sign the report which could put Aquino, former Budget Secretary Forencio Abad and former Health Secretary Janette Garin in prison.

On Wednesday, Gordon presented to the media a copy of the draft report that accused Aquino, Abad and Garin as primary conspirators and recommended that they must be held criminally liable and prosecuted for the tragedy, damage and possible deaths from the use of the vaccine.

An ally of Aquino, Senator Risa Hontivero, however, expressed unhappiness toward Gordon’s move in handing the copy of the draft report to the media before the copies were distributed to committee members.

The senator said the move by Gordon strengthened suspicion that the Dengvaxia investigation was politicized.

Gordon said former President Aquino must be held liable for his involvement in the controversy. “I don’t wish that he (Aquino) be put in jail, that is why the recommendation was not plunder. I do not want him in jail because it is a disgrace for the country to always have leadersw who are being charged,” he added.

Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th said he doubted Gordon could get enough senators to sign the report. He noted that 90 percent of the hearings conducted by the committee were spent on Gordon’s continuous talk.