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Walang kawala! House panel to go after Aquino over Dengvaxia

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by: Xave Gregorio

The House good government and public accountability committee will go after former President Noynoy Aquino for his involvement in the P3.5 billion Dengvaxia mess, its chair Surigao del Sur 2nd District Rep. Johnny Ty Pimentel said.

Asked in a media briefing if Aquino would be one of the former officials the committee would recommend to be held liable for the controversial dengue vaccine, Pimentel said, “If you will base it on the principle of command responsibility, it was President Aquino who approved or authorized the realignment.”

He was referring to the former president’s realignment of government savings to provide P3.5 billion in funds for the purchase of Dengvaxia.

Pimentel’s counterpart in the Senate, Blue Ribbon committee chair Dick Gordon, had already said he would recommend the filing of criminal cases against Aquino, along with former Health Secretary Janette Garin and former Budget Secretary Butch Abad.

But Pimentel does not want to make any further statements as he awaits his committee’s report on Dengvaxia.

“The committee is a collegial body po. So, what I’ll be saying probably will be based on my opinion. Hintayin na lang po natin ang committee report,” he said.

Still he assured that former government officials will be held liable for Dengvaxia, which had been given to over 830,000 children before its manufacturer Sanofi-Pasteur disclosed that it can cause severe dengue among those who have not yet been infected when they contract the disease.

Pimentel also said Sanofi would be held accountable, reiterating his demand to refund the remaining P1.8 billion worth of unused vaccines and for the French pharmaceutical company to put up an indemnity fund to compensate those who have been inoculated with the dengue vaccine.