Comelec probes link between DOH’s P3.5-B Dengvaxia purchase and 2016 elections


Department of Health (DOH) officials launch Dengvaxia, the world’s first vaccine against dengue virus developed by French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur.

MANILA, Philippines — The first-ever hearing of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Law Department on the complaints filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and Dr. Francis  Cruz, the former health consultant of the Department of Health (DOH).

The complaint is in connection with the purchase of P3.5-billion Dengvaxia vaccine by DOH amid the election period during the term of former Health Secretary Janette Garin.

In a subpoena issued by the Comelec Law Department, the poll body invited DOH officials who have knowledge of the process involved in the purchase and implementation of the Dengvaxia mass immunization.

The Comelec Law Department has ordered the said DOH officials to submit their counter-affidavits.

“We divided the hearings for all the respondents because this is too plenty. What the respondents did is  they submitted a joint counter-affidavit,” said Comelec Atty. Erwin Villarin.

On the other hand, VACC lawyer Manny Luna asked the Comelec to give them more days to prepare for the said hearing which will be attended by the officials of the previous administration.

The primary accused in the complaint of the VACC are former President Benigno Aquino III, Jannette Garin, and former Budget Sec. Florencio Abad.

The former officials are expected to attend the Comelec hearing on the 15th of March.

The complainant will present the documents they say will prove the alleged violations of the accused of the Omnibus Election Code.

“One of our allegations is that they did not request for exemption and they were not granted. And that is our major allegation,” said Luna.

The VACC is confident that it has a strong case against the former high-ranking government officials and incumbent officials of the health department.

The next Comelec hearings are set for Monday and Thursday.

On Monday, the VACC is expected to submit its reply to the counter affidavit of the DOH officials.

Garin previously said she will attend the said hearing and will submit her counter-affidavit.

The Comelec Law Department has yet to confirm if Aquino will also attend the said hearing. — Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue

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