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Challenge accepted! PNoy to attend Senate hearing on Dengvaxia

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Former President Benigno Aquino III will attend the continuation of the Senate blue ribbon committee’s investigation Thursday (Deecember 14) into the procurement of P3.5 billion worth of Dengvaxia vaccine, Politiko has learned.

The Senate blue ribbon committee invited Aquino, former Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and former Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa to shed light on the purchase of the vaccine in 2016.

A report by GMA News Tuesday (December 12) quoted Aquino as saying that he wants to “participate” in telling people the truth.

Committee chairman Senator Richard Gordon earlier said there may have been a “conspiracy” between Aquino and members of his Cabinet regarding the purchase of the vaccine, which was used in the government’s anti-dengue immunization program.

Pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur, which manufactured Dengvaxia, recently admitted it may cause severe dengue in inidividuals who did not yet have the infection when they were vaccinated.

At the first Senate hearing Monday (December 11), an official from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said the Office of the President, through Ochoa, authorized the realignment of funds for the purchase of Dengvaxia.

Former Health Secretary Janette Garin has denied any irregularity in buying the anti-dengue vaccine.