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The DOJ promises that Dengvaxia cases are handled “by the book.”

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On Monday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) provided clarification regarding the early recusal of one of its top officials who had previously represented a defendant in the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine controversy.

Reiterating that the DOJ “will resolve the outstanding requests for review involving the Dengvaxia cases in line with law and jurisprudence, and based exclusively on the information given by the parties,” DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano issued a statement to the media.

The clarification was necessary for light of a statement made by Persida Acosta, the head of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), in which she accused DOJ Undersecretary Jesse Hermogenes Andres of improper behavior and undue influence.

The DOJ stated that it will rigorously adhere to the already-in-place regulations and conflict-avoidance procedures.

Dr. Janette Garin, a former secretary of the Department of Health who is currently a representative for Iloilo’s 1st District, fired Andres as her legal representative in May.

Garino is a co-accused in a homicide case that is now being heard by Branch 133 of the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court.

The Andres Marcelo Padernal Guerrero & Paras Law Office was her initial legal counsel.

“The Dengvaxia allegations would be decided solely based on the case’s merits. In fact, all Dengvaxia complaints were submitted in court, with the exception of those that had previously been similarly dismissed for failing to produce an actual vaccination card, according to the DOJ, even after Usec. Andres’ appointment as DOJ Undersecretary.

The records of 16 Dengvaxia cases currently before the DOJ were also delivered by Andres in a letter dated July 7 to the Office of the Justice Secretary Appeals Management Office, claiming his inhibition from the case.

Due to Andres’ affiliation with the DOJ, Acosta charged the whole National Prosecution Service with bias and a conflict of interest in her court-filed motion.

Acosta recommended allowing PAO to take up the cases’ prosecution.

“This idea violates the law and is outside of PAO’s charter scope. The DOJ claims that there is no legitimate reason to exclude it, either legally or factually.

PAO represents the relatives of those whose deaths, particularly those of youngsters, were allegedly brought on by the anti-dengue vaccine.

In 2016, the Philippines began a widespread dengue vaccination campaign utilizing the vaccine produced by the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur.

Nearly two years later, and with about 800,000 people already receiving the vaccine, Sanofi declared that Dengvaxia might have negative effects in people who have never had dengue virus before.

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