DOH execs claim Dengvaxia program did not violate election law

MANILA Former and current officials of the Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday reiterated that they did not violate any law as they filed their counter affidavit before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in response to the election offense case they are facing.

DOH Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo stressed that he and his colleagues in the department did not defy any law when they implemented the Dengvaxia immunization program in 2016.

We did not do anything wrong, we did not violate the law. We believe that our names will be cleared later on, he said in an interview.

Also present in the preliminary conference of the case filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) are DOH Undersecretary Mario Villaverde and Assistant Secretary Lyndon Lee Suy, among others.

On the other hand, lawyer Erwin Villarin of the Comelec Law Department noted they prioritize all cases that have been filed before them.

All cases filed before us are considered priorities. That is the objective of the Comelec and the Law Department. Regardless if it is a big or small case, we consider them as a priority, he said in a separate interview.

We are always guided by our rules, the Comelec official added.

Also named respondents on the case are former President Benigno Aquino III, former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and former DOH Secretary Janette Garin.

The three officials were ordered to submit their counter-affidavits on March 15.

The complainants, Drs. Francis Cruz and Clarito Cairo Jr., alleged that the dengue vaccine program's implementation falls within the 45-day ban on government projects ahead of the May 2016 elections.

Source: Philippine News Agency