By Jeffrey Damicog
The families of nine dead children who received the Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine are set to refute the claims of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, former Health Secretary Janette Garin and their co-respondents of having nothing to do with their deaths.
Assistant State Prosecutor Maria Emilia Victorio, who chairs the panel conducting the preliminary investigation of the complaints filed by the families, has set this Monday for the complainants to file their respective replies to the counter-affidavits of the respondents.
After which the respondents will then be allowed to respond by filing rejoinders before the panel on July 27.
The panel is conducting the preliminary investigation over the criminal complaints filed separately by the families of the nine dead children, namely, Aejay Bautista, Anjielica Pestillos, Lenard Baldonado, Zandro Colite, Abbie Hedia, Jansyn Art Bataa, Mark Axel Ebonia, Reijazztine Justin Alimagno, and Alexander Jaime.
In the complaints, the families accused the respondents of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC); for torture resulting to the death of a person and the torture of a child under Republic Act 9745, also known as the Act Penalizing Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment; obstruction of justice under Section 1(b) of Presidential Decree 1829; and violation of Section 3€ of Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Garin has been named in all of the complaints, while, Duque is the respondent in two of the complaints.
Apart from them, those who have been charged in all or some of the complaints include Department of Health (DOH) officials Vicente Belizario Jr., Kenneth Hartigan-Go, Gerardo Bayugo, Lyndon Lee Suy, Irma Asuncion, Julius Lecciones, Joyce Ducusin, and Rosalind Vianzon; Maria Lourdes Santiago and Melody Zamudio of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and Socorro Lupisan and Maria Rosario Capending of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
Executives of Dengavaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur Inc. and distributor Zuellig Pharma Corporation were also included as respondents.
The corporate directors and officers of Sanofi named in the complaint are Carlito Realuyo, Sanislas Camart, Jean Louis Grunwald, Jean-Francois Vacherand, Conchita Santos, Jazel Anne Calvo, Pearl Grace Cabali, and Marie Esther De Antoni.
Those from Zuellig are Kasigod Jamias, Michael Becker, Ricardo Romulo, Imran Babar Chugtai, Raymund Azurin, Nilo Badiola, John Stokes Davison, Marc Franck, Ashley Gerard Antonio, Ana Liza Peralta, Rosa Maria Chua, Danilo Cahoy, Manuel Concio III, Roland Goco, and Ma. Visitacion Barreiro.