PAO eyes raps vs. 2 more doctors over Dengvaxia mess

MANILA — The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) on Monday formally asked state prosecutors to include two government doctors in criminal charges against those to be held liable over the multi-billion-peso Dengvaxia vaccine fiasco.

In a 15-page motion filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ), the complainants in the pending cases asked prosecutors to include Dr. Raymundo W. Lo and Dr. Sonia B. Gonzales of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) as among those liable for the incident which resulted in the deaths of a number of children.

“(T)he heart of the instant case concerns the lives and health of the Filipino children inoculated with a new and experimental vaccine without their or their families’ informed consent and without proper screening,” the motion said.

“The complicity of Dr. Lo and Dr. Gonzales to the purchase of Dengvaxia vaccine with undue haste despite the fact that it is still on its trial stage is manifest making them liable as the other respondents in this case,” it added.

The PAO said that as of Nov. 23, 2018, 102 children who received Dengvaxia already died while all of them exhibited a common pattern in signs and symptoms.

Among the evidence filed by the complainants in support of their case was a purchase receipt No. PH-2016-001GH dated Jan. 21, 2016 signed by Lo as head of the center and Gonzales who signed for his behalf proving they requested the purchase of Dengue Tetravalent Vaccine for the Expanded Program of Immunization.

The complainants have filed charges for reckless imprudence resulting to homicide and violation of the Anti-Torture Act for each individual Dengvaxia victim.

The dead children’s parents and guardians are the complainants in the case, namely Fredeswinda A. Jajalla-Nimura, Rowena M. Villegas, Manuel E. Ramirez Jr., Kristina A. Ramirez, Erwin C. Alcantara, Lyngin A. Alcantara, Nelson De Guzman, Marivic G. De Guzman, Romeo G. Cariño, Virginia D. Cariño, Philip Cruz Leabres, Leny Salazar, Mendoza Leabres and Fausta E. Gasilla. Benjamin Pulta/