The Quezon City Regional Trial Court has ordered the arrest of ex-Health Secretary Janette Garin, now Iloilo representative, setting her arraignment on Nov. 27 for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide in connection with the Dengvaxia-related deaths of two school children.
In two separate Nov. 18 omnibus orders, Branch 107 Judge Jose Bautista Jr. ruled “the court went over the record of the case and finds that probable cause exists to issue warrant of arrest against all accused.”
While many of Garin’s co-accused were able to post bail before the Muntinlupa City Metropolitan Trial Court and other courts, Garin herself, and Stanislas Camart, Jean Louis Grunwald and Jean Francois Vacherand from Sanofi Pasteur Inc., the manufacturer of Dengvaxia vaccine, “have not yet filed their bail bonds,” the court said.
Bautista, however, gave the four accused a chance to post bail within three days from receipt of the order.
“Jurisdiction having acquired over the persons of these accused, this case is set for arraignment, pre-trial conference and preliminary conference on Nov. 27, 2020 at 2 p.m.,” he directed all respondents.
The bail bonds of the other respondents posted before the courts in Muntinlupa City; Imus, Cavite and other courts are already considered filed before Quezon City’s Branch 107, he said.
“The Court is reminding the parties and their counsels the protocol in attending in-court hearings in the Quezon City Hall of Justice. They should wear face mask, face shield, and observe proper physical distancing at all times,” the judge stressed.
The kin of the late Marc-Axl Eboña sued Garin, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Philippine Children’s Medical Center executive director Julius Lecciones, and former and active officials of the Department of Health, Food and Drug Administration and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine as well as the Sanofi executives before the Muntinlupa City MeTC, while security guard Ian Colite filed the case against the respondents in Imus, Cavite for the death of his son Zandro.
State prosecutors absolved Duque of any liability over the deaths of children who received the Dengvaxia vaccine.
Last Oct. 15, the Public Attorney’s Office received a notice of an Aug. 26 resolution signed by clerk of court Librada Buena of the Supreme Court’s First Division directing the executive judge of the QCRTC to cause the raffle of all Dengvaxia cases to a single branch of the family court.
The Department of Health through the PCMC spent P3 billion of P3.5 billion for a mass vaccination of schoolchildren in 2016 against dengue.
In November 2017, Sanofi, in an official statement posted on its website, said “the 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.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Health said on Friday the reason for the delay in the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s remittance of funds to the country’s universal health care program was due to unsigned documents.
The DOH’s clarification was made after Senator Panfilo Lacson accused the DOH of failing to come up with guidelines to allow PAGCOR to remit billions of pesos to help fund the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
“There is that guideline already. Nakapagusap na ang Department of Health (the DOH already discussed this) together with the concerned agencies of government,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.
“What we need is for the other agencies involved to sign this so that the transfer of money to PhilHealth can be implemented,” said Vergeire.
“It’s not really the lack of guidelines but we are waiting for offices which are a part of this to sign the document so we can be able to implement it already,” she said.
During budget deliberations at the Senate, Lacson said PAGCOR would have been able to remit P17 billion to PhilHealth if operational guidelines were in place.
Under the Universal Health Care Law, half of the national government’s share from PAGCOR’s income, as well as 40 percent of the charity fund of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) should be used to fund the country’s universal health care program.
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