Gordon sees need to invite Aquino to Senate probe on Dengvaxia mess

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SENATOR Richard Gordon said there may be a need to invite former president Benigno Aquino 3rd to shed light on his alleged involvement in the questionable purchase of P3.5 billion worth of Dengavaxia dengue vaccine.

Gordon, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee investigating the vaccine mess, claimed that almost all 19 members of the panel saw the need to invite Aquino at the continuation of the public hearing on December 14.

“Lahat ng nakakausap ko, sabi nila, you have to (invite Aquino). Sabi ni Sen. (Aquilino) Koko Pimentel, kailangan, let the truth come out (Almost all of those I talked said, you have to. Sen. Koko Pimentel said it is necessary),” Gordon said in a radio interview on Tuesday.

“Ang gusto ko sana moto propio pumunta si presidente (Aquino) o iimbitahin namin. Sasabihin ko na ngayon sa kumite na imbitahin si presidente, si (dating budget) secretary (Florencio) Abad at iba pa (I hope president Aquino attend the hearing moto propio or invite him. I will ask the committee now to invite former president Aquino and former budget secretary Florencio Abad),” he said.


Gordon said on Monday that Aquino was not yet “off the hook” with regard to his alleged culpability in the dengue vaccine scandal as he noted the former president’s several meetings abroad with Sanofi executives prior to the procurement of the vaccine.

The senator said it was during the term of former health secretary Janet Garin that the Dengavaxia vaccine was rolled out amid concerns from health experts on its efficacy.

Gordon raised suspicion on the vaccine purchase since the funds used for the procurement was taken from the savings of the Department of Health (DoH) for 2015.

“To re-align the budget without getting approval from Congress, only someone from higher up can order this. Abad can’t walk 10 meters without the President knowing, especially with this kind of amount–P3.5 billion,” he said.

He raised suspicions that the procurement may have been “supply-driven instead of needs-driven” following several meetings between Philippine and Sanofi officials.

 

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