Former Department of Health (DOH) secretary and now Iloilo First District Representative Janette Garin posted bail on Monday, Nov. 13, for her temporary liberty in connection with the graft and technical malversation charges filed against her.

The charges were filed by the Office of the Ombudsman over the purchase of P3.5 billion worth of dengue vaccines from pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur in 2016. 

Her co-accused, namely former DOH undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo, former DOH acting director Maria Joyce Ducusin, former DOH undersecretary Kenneth Hartigan-Go, and former Philippine Children’s Medical Center chief Julius Lecciones, also posted bail.

The Ombudsman set the bail amounts at P90,000 and P18,000 per respondent in the graft case and the technical malversation case, respectively.

“Posting bail is part of the agonizing process to prove our innocence. It is a crucial step in ensuring (a) fair trial and safeguarding one’s rights,” Garin said.

“We hope that this first step into cleansing our name can be dealt with timely so that scientists and doctors can perform our regular tasks,” she added.

According to Garin, the controversy surrounding the Dengvaxia vaccine had led to a significant drop in vaccine confidence, resulting in a measles and polio outbreak in the Philippines.

“Resolving the issue once and for all is aligned to the Doctors for Truth clamor because global history have taught us that any vaccine demonized, usually spreads to include other vaccine-preventable diseases and results in outbreaks,” she said.

The Ombudsman noted that Dengvaxia was not part of the immunization program and not listed in Volume 1 of the Philippine National Drug Formulary in violation of Executive Order 49, series of 1993, and related administrative orders and issuances to the damage of public service.

At least 800,000 learners aged nine years old and above were vaccinated in 2016 for 19 months beginning in April 2016. The DOH ordered to stop the Dengvaxia vaccination in December 2017 after Sanofi Pasteur said its product poses higher risks to people without prior infection.IMT