MANILA – Parents of supposed victims of Dengvaxia vaccination on Monday appealed for help from President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. following the dismissal of the 24 criminal complaints they had filed before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QCRTC).
At a press conference at the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), Annalyn Ybonia, mother of one of the complainants, said they have sent a letter to President Marcos and Department of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla about their request for the inhibition of Justice Undersecretary Jesse Hermogenes Andres from cases related to the Dengvaxia issue "dahil sa malinaw na mayroong ‘conflict of interest’ o magkataliwas na interes (because there’s a clear ‘conflict of interest’ or contradicting interest).”
The PAO and the parents of the victims noted that DOJ Department Circular 29 dated Sept. 13, 2022, entitled: “Delineation of Duties and Responsibilities,” says one of the prime responsibilities of Andres is the supervision of the National Prosecution Service, which is under the DOJ.
She said the supervision is also clear in a memorandum dated Oct. 10, 2022 of the DOJ Panel of Prosecutors (DOJ Panel) in response to the first petition by the PAO for the inhibition of the DOJ panel to serve as prosecutors in the criminal cases filed pertaining to the Dengvaxia vaccine before the QCRTC Branch 107.
The cases were transferred to QCRTC Branch 13 when the DOJ panel asked for the inhibition of the judge of QCRTC Branch 107.
“Hindi lingid sa kaalaman ng lahat na si Usec. Andres ay tumayong abogado ni Dr. Jannete Garin, dating kalihim ng DOH, na isa sa mga akusado sa mga kaso na isinampa na may kaugnayan sa makontrobersyang Dengvaxia vaccine (It’s not unknown to all that Usec. Andres served as counsel to Dr. Garin, a former DOH Secretary, who is one of the accused in the cases filed in connection with the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine)," said Sumachen Dominguez, the mother of survivor-victim James Benedict Dominguez.
“Nang dahil dito ay malinaw na malinaw ang pagkakaroon ng ‘conflict of interest’ (Because of this, it’s very clear that there is a ‘conflict of interest’),” Dominguez said.
For her part, PAO Head Executive Assistant Director Revelyn Ramos-Dakpano noted how the DOJ panel in the cases directly report to Remulla through Andres.
“Malinaw sa nabanggit na memorandum [na ang] DOJ panel ay direktang nag-uulat kay Usec. Andres dahil ang nasabing memorandum ay naka-address sa Kagalang-galang na Secretary Remulla sa pamamagitan ni Usec. Andres (It’s clear in the said memorandum of the DOJ Panel is directly reporting to Usec. Andres because the memorandum is addressed to Secretary Remulla through Usec. Andres)," she said.
Garin has earlier insisted that there has been no proof that the vaccine can cause deaths. In 2019, however, the DOJ indicted her for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide in the alleged deaths of eight children who were administered the Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine without the necessary precautions.
As of Nov. 11, 2022, a total of 157 Dengvaxia cases have been filed with the QCRTC, eight cases are for filing, and 24 cases have been dismissed.
Of the 24 dismissed cases, one case was dismissed for “no death certificate was attached.” A motion for reconsideration was filed on Oct. 25, 2022. (PNA)