Press Release
December 11, 2016


Senator Richard J. Gordon has clarified that there is no need as yet to invite former President Benigno Aquino III to the investigation of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the alleged anomalous procurement of P3.5-billion worth of dengue vaccines.

Gordon, chair of the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers & Investigations or Blue Ribbon, said that invited to the next hearing are medical experts and officials from the Department of Health (DOH) and its attached agencies, the Department of Budget and Management and the Commission on Audit to further clarify on the Dengvaxia vaccine attributes and testing methods/results to date in the Philippines and how the procurement by the DOH was processed.

"Certain issues have been brought to the attention of the Committee and the Senate concerning a vaccine called Dengvaxia and there are certain issues that have been presented, issues concerning the capability of the product, the manner of testing whether there were sufficient testing that had happened. It behooves us in the government to see to it that when we get this kind of medication, we get the best and we must see to it that we examine the test protocol and results and that we come out with all the due diligence required of a good father to a child," the senator pointed out.

"At this point in the investigation, we have not invited President Aquino. We are not trying to judge anybody here. We are just saying, pumapasok ang gamot na bago, dapat tama ba na ganoon ang patakaran natin. Dapat ba baguhin natin? Remember, we are here in aid of legislation. We cannot prosecute anybody here, we can only recommend but we are not even on that aspect yet," he added.

On December 6, 2016, the Blue Ribbon conducted its first hearing on the issue following the deaths of two children, who received the first dose of the vaccine in April. The purchase of some P3.5 billion worth of dengue vaccines by the DOH was done during the past administration.

While no appropriation was made for the purchase, funds were immediately made available toward the end of year. "That was a huge amount of money, which was taken from the savings, no appropriation from Congress... It's just like DAP [Disbursement Acceleration Program]... We really need to investigate this," Gordon said.

Gordon said he was also baffled why the dengue vaccine was given priority when only 250 people per year died from the disease with over 200,000 persons afflicted - this only accounts for 0.01% of the population and dengue not being among the Top 10 health afflictions suffered by the people. He also pointed out that testing for the new vaccine had not been completed yet when the government procured it.

He also questioned why the DOH started a new immunization program for dengue when the country has not yet satisfied the immunization requirement for the Millennium Development Goal for other more deadly diseases.

However, while questioning the apparent haste with which the anti-dengue vaccine was procured, Gordon said that the legislature will not stand in the way of the government's anti-dengue vaccination program that is already underway.

News Latest News Feed