2 more cases filed over alleged Dengvaxia deaths

MANILA � Two new criminal cases were filed Thursday before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against former Health Secretary Janette Garin and 37 others over the deaths of schoolchildren inoculated with Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine.

The new complaints were filed by Sonia Guerra from Las PiAas City and Felix Noel and Honey Vazquez from Cardona, Rizal. They are the parents of schoolchildren Shiela Mae Guerra and Gillian Vasquez bringing to 29 the number of cases filed in connection with casualties arising from the dengue immunization program.

It is the fourth batch of cases initiated with the help of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), which has identified at least a hundred deaths in connection with the vaccine.

Aside from Garin, charged were several health officials, including Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and executives of Dengvaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur and distributor Zuellig Pharma.

Garin and others were accused of negligence for their failure to obtain the consent of and inform the Dengvaxia recipients and their parents or families of the dangers and risks related to the vaccine.

PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta cited the failure of the health department under Garin to conduct proper screening of Dengvaxia recipients and implement active and aggressive monitoring and surveillance.

The DOJ, through a panel chaired by Assistant State Prosecutor Maria Emilia Victorio, has completed a preliminary investigation on the first batch of cases involving deaths of nine schoolchildren�Aejay Bautista, Angelica Pestilos, Lenard Baldonado, Zandro Colite, Abbie Hedia, Jansyn Bataan, Mark Axel Ebonia, Rey Justin Almagno, and Alexander Jaime.

A separate panel chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Susan Dacanay is currently conducting a preliminary investigation on the second batch of cases involving eight victims�Clarissa Alcantara, Christine Mae De Guzman, Erico Leabres, Roshaine CariAo, Naomi Nimura, John Paul Rafael, Michael Tablate, and Christine Joy Asuncion.

The panel has set the final hearing on Dec. 3 before submitting the case for resolution. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency