It was, according to a top health official of the Aquino administration, a “political decision” to implement the P3.5-billion dengue vaccination program in the twilight of Noynoy Aquino’s term. And here I was thinking that inoculating up to one million children was a matter of public health, which should never be subject to politicking.
Most of us already know the strange circumstances surrounding the midnight purchase of the Dengvaxia vaccine created by the world’s fifth-largest pharmaceutical company by sales, France-based Sanofi. But it took Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go, a former undersecretary of the Department of Health, to admit to the Senate yesterday the real reason for the uncharacteristic energy displayed by the usually lackadaisical Aquino government in forcing through with the vaccination program right before it bid goodbye.
In one last spasm of political will, Aquino personally met with Sanofi executives at least three times, blatantly disregarded budget procedures and brushed aside reservations made by well-intentioned medical professionals and groups to get the job done. He obviously gave direct and insistent orders to his health and budget officials, who delivered the necessary approvals and found the needed funds in record time.
To Aquino also should be addressed the plaintive question posed to Noynoy’s Health Secretary, Janette Garin, by a parent at the hearing: How do you sleep at night?
If using a still-untested vaccine on a total of 830,000 children (a number that could still rise if all those vaccinated are accounted for, including those who had their shots at private hospitals and other groups like police officers) is a mere question of politics, I wonder what other important decisions were made using the same consideration during those dark years. Think about it.
Was the decision to leave 44 police commandos to die in Mamasapano a political decision? Was the delayed and condescending response to the Yolanda tragedy informed by the same politics?
I think Noynoy, Garin and the rest sleep very well at night, thank you very much. After all, to them, everything was probably just a political decision, with no bearing whatsoever on actual persons.
But I wish Go’s truthful but self-condemning statement is remembered by all Filipinos when the next elections come along and some Yellow candidate once again seeks our vote. Remember that to these elitist hypocrites, who like to pose as righteous reformers with no evidence to back up their claims, voters like you are just numbers who aid them in forming political decisions.
And remember that it’s not just any kind of politics. It’s got to be Yellow politics, a particularly virulent kind that only cares about a segment of the political elite that lives off the masses—whose health, welfare and lives don’t really matter.
One person who is truly the subject of a political decision—and who must have trouble sleeping these days—is Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. But before Congress, both Houses of it, rules on her fate, she must suffer the indignity of being serially humiliated by an increasing number of her own peers and colleagues.
Five members of Sereno’s own court have either already testified or have promised to testify against the chief justice in the ongoing committee on justice investigation being conducted against her in the House of Representatives. If you include the court administrator and the clerk of court, that makes seven court officers that Sereno must deal with on a daily basis at work—and they have, for the most part, damned her with their testimony at the House.
Now, I don’t care what you make of Sereno’s flunking her psychological examination. But don’t tell me that her own performance will not suffer, on the off-chance that she survives the move to impeach her, if he has to continue working with the people who have already condemned her before the justice committee.
Indeed, if only because of their unprecedented testimony against Sereno, I am certain that all these members of the court cannot be expected to look at the chief justice in any way except as their sworn enemy, who must be stopped or stymied at all costs. And because surviving impeachment only inoculates Sereno from the removal process for one year, I expect these declared anti-CJ dissidents to keep on trying on an annual basis.
And where would that leave us, the citizens who look to the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of legal disputes and ultimate interpreter of the law? Nowhere.
Again, I remember the much-loved Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was removed by Noynoy Aquino’s Congress lackeys even if he had the support of his colleagues, all the lower courts and nearly all the court workers at every level. And I recall that only one high court justice expressed a willingness to testify against Corona during his impeachment trial— a new associate justice by the name of Maria Lourdes Sereno, who succeeded Corona.
Karma can really be a bitch. And Sereno should really take a hint and resign.