Press Release
December 11, 2017


The speed by which funds were made available for the procurement of the Dengvaxia Vaccine, the administration of which to at least 830,000 people is now turning into the country's major health nightmare, has aroused the suspicion of Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

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," he said.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers & Investigations or Blue Ribbon pointed out that with no less than former President Benigno Aquino III and former Health Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin having had several meetings with Sanofi officials and each meeting resulting in the acceleration of the procurement process, suspicions that the procurement may have been supply-driven instead of needs-driven were fueled.

"Ang sinasabi ko dito, is this needs-driven or supply-driven? Sa gobyerno, kapag nilalapitan ka, nililigawan ka, nagsu-supply ng gamot 'yan o ng isang gamit na hindi kailangan masyado ng gobyerno. Pagkatapos pa nung mga meeting lalong bumibilis ang proseso" he said.

The senator said Garin's May 2015 meeting with Sanofi Pasteur executives, though not irregular on face value, creates a circumstantial connection leading to irregularity. The government bought and rolled out the dengue vaccines from Sanofi in 2016, during the time of Garin as Secretary of the Department of Health (DOH).

While Aquino may not have been invited to Monday's hearing, Gordon did not clear him of any culpability in the dengue vaccine mess, considering his meetings abroad with Sanofi executives and the fact that the funds used for the procurement was re-aligned from the savings from Miscellaneous Personnel Benefit Fund pertaining to the DOH.

"To re-align the budget without getting approval from Congress, only someone from higher up can order this. (Former Budget and Management Secretary Florencio) Abad can't walk 10 meters without the President knowing, especially with this kind of amount - P3.5B," he said.

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