Press Release
December 13, 2017


Senator Richard J. Gordon is astounded by the undue speed in the procurement process for the Dengvaxia Vaccine, the administration of which to at least 830,000 people is now turning into the country's major health nightmare.

Gordon, chairman of the chairman of the Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers & Investigations or Blue Ribbon, said the committee's second hearing on the dengue vaccine mess only stressed that the process of procurement appeared to be expedited.

"Napakabilis talaga ng proseso, parang minadali nila. Hindi nasunod yung usual na process ng pag-peprepare for implementation of a new vaccination program. Nakita na natin sa hearing nung December last year na after every meetings abroad between Sanofi executives and President (Benigno) Aquino or Secretary (Janette Loreto-) Garin, magkakaroon ng bagong development sa procurement process at lalo itong bumibilis," he said.

Gordon said he sees "conspiracy" in the government's procurement of P3.5-billion Dengvaxia vaccines from French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur because the budget for the procurement of the vaccine was not even part of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) since there was no assurance yet that the vaccine was safe to be administered.

"Merong very, very strong signs na parang may conspiracy. Unang-una, wala sa GAA yung budget para sa dengue vaccine. Pangalawa, isiningit lang nila yan, gumawa sila ng paraan para isingit. Kaya nakakapagtaka, bisita ka nang bisita tapos bigla kang magmamadali, isisingit mo yung dengue vaccine. Halatang may nag-mani-obra. Pwedeng para pambaon or para sa boto, we do not know yet. It is very suspicious kasi na ang target areas for implementation ay Regions 3, 4-A and NCR, mga areas na may malalaking boto," he said.

During the hearings, it was established that Aquino met with Sanofi executives on November 9, 2014 in Beijing, China and again on December 1, 2015, at the sidelines of the Climate Change Conference in Paris, France. In between the two meetings, Garin, who was also present at the December 1 meeting, met with the Sanofic officials on May 14 and 15, 2015 in France.

After Aquino's last meeting with Sanofi executives, events seemed to have snowballed at such a speed that, in the same month, a proposal to the Department of Budget and Management for Health Facilities Enhancement Program Funding and Procurement of three million doses of dengue vaccine was submitted; the Food and Drugs Administration issued a Certificate of Product Registration for Dengvaxia; and a Special Allotment Release Order was issued.

By January 21 of the following year, the Philippine Children's Medical Center (PCMC) which was designated as the procuring agency, issued a purchase request to Zuelllig Pharma, Sanofi's sole distributor in the Philippines and the submission and opening of bids was scheduled for February. News reports said that by February 11, the first batch of shipment arrived in the country. It was also established that funds were only transferred to the PCMC on March 8, 2016 and the PCMC issued a purchase order on March 9.

"A scintilla of doubt creates a tsunami of discredit. The intention to prevent dengue infection was good but it opened health risks to those who haven't had dengue infections before. And I'm greatly bothered that they used the taxpayer's money with undue haste to purchase something that resulted in the harm of younger generations. This is not a bridge, this is not a school. This is about the LIFE and DEATH of our children," he stressed.

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