FORMER President Benigno Aquino 3rd attended the hearing of the House of Representatives regarding the purchase of controversial anti-dengue vaccines under his administration.
“Humaharap po ako sa Kongreso ngayon dahil tingin ko, obligasyon kong dalhin ang usapan sa tamang antas, at ilayo ito sa haka-haka at padudang nagdudulot ng pinsala sa kapakanan ng aking mga Boss, ang sambayanang Pilipino,” Aquino told the Committees on Good Government and Public Accountability and Health on Monday.
Buhay Party-list Rep. Jose “Lito” Atienza Jr. moved to invite Aquino to the hearing.
“Yes we figured that no less than the former president should shed light on the what, who, where, when, the basics of our investigation…but definitely we would like answers to the questions who authorized it…where did the money come from, and who finally approved the implementation of the project which is obviously ill timed. Election period na ‘yun e, pinilit pa rin nila,” Atienza told reporters in an interview before the hearing.
“We want to get to real issues on what led us into this mess. Wala namang pera sa pondo, sa budget. Bakit biglang nagkaroon? Iyon ba ay spur-of-the-moment decision? Who can answer that? Only the president can. Or this was a planned activity to time with the election campaign, who can answer that? Only the president, the former president,” he also said in part.
Dengue, which is transmitted through the Aedes aegypti mosquito, is an acute viral infection, which may result in death if left untreated.
The Department of Health (DoH) ordered the suspension of the immunization program after Sanofi Pasteur, manufacturer of Dengvaxia, said in a statement that “[t]he analysis confirmed that Dengvaxia provides persistent protective benefit against dengue fever in those who had prior infection.”
“For those not previously infected by dengue virus, however, the analysis found that in the longer term, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection,” Sanofi Pasteur said. REINA TOLENTINO