By Analou De Vera
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III dismissed the allegation of Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta that his office is bribing families of those vaccinated with Dengvaxia in order not to pursue charges against government officials involved in the Dengvaxia mess.
“That is a barefaced brazen lie coming from a person with a malicious mind,” said the health chief during a phone interview with the Manila Bulletin.
In a recent radio interview, Acosta claimed that the DOH paid at least four families with P50,000 each in exchange of dropping off the charges.
Duque explained that the P50,000 financial assistance come from the Office of the President and is given to families of deceased Dengvaxia “vaccinees.”
“That assistance, number one, does not come from DOH but from the Office of the President… Hindi yan galing sa DOH galing yan sa OP (Office of the President) na nirecommend ng DOH to assist the families of the Dengvaxia vaccinees who died but not necessarily because of Dengvaxia,” said Duque.
[That assistance, in the first place, does not come from DOH but from the office of the President… It did not come from the DOH, it is from the OP, as recommended by the DOH to assist the families of the Dengvaxia vaccinees who died but not necessarily because of Dengvaxia.]
Duque said that he is ready to face any investigation if ever a probe will be launched.
“Of course. Matagal na niyang sinasabi yan. Desperate itong mga ito eh,” he said.
[Of course. She’s been saying that for a long time. They are desperate.]
On Monday, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a media briefing urged the PAO chief to prove her claims.
“That’s a serious charge. She should substantiate it,” said Panelo.