Responding to allegations that the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) investigation into the scrapped national anti-dengue vaccination program is merely a political stunt, PAO Chief Persida Acosta said that the issue goes beyond it.
“Hindi po pulitika ‘to eh, krimen ito. Crime differs from politics,” Acosta said in an interview with Radyo Inquirer on Thursday.
“Sabi ng iba, pulitika ‘yan, kaya ayaw naming sumuporta dyan. Papaano naging pulitika ‘yan eh nagkakamatayan ang mga bata? Iba po ang crime sa politics, spelling pa lang magkaiba na eh,” she added.
(Others say this is politics that is why they are not supporting it. How this one becomes part of politics, children are already dying? Crime is different from politics, spelling for one is already different.)
Acosta made her comments after reacting to a recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) doctors on the safety and efficacy of dengue vaccines on seronegative patients, or those who have not been infected with the disease.
The study found out that seronegative patients are exposed to risks after vaccination, compared to seropositive recipients.
“I have not read that, ngayon ko lang nalaman ‘yan, at nagpapasalamat po ako na meron palang mga doktor na talagang tumutulong,” Acosta said.
(I just learned it now, and I am so thankful that there are doctors who are helping.)
On fairness and malice
Acosta called on the media to be fair in covering and reporting the issue, saying that PAO’s efforts are just being done out of concern over the welfare of the Filipino people.
“Pasintabi lang sa mga kasama sa media, ‘wag naman sana nila ipagpalit sa kumikinang ang hustisya,” Acosta said, who has previously claimed that journalists purposely missed her press conferences in exchange for ‘envelopes.’”
(With due respect to the members of the media, I hope you would not replace justice with those that are perceived to be shining.)
The PAO chief added that more cases will be filed in the coming days, while dismissing allegations that PAO’s moves come with malice.
“Lilinawin ko lang, hindi ako ang nagdemanda, ang mga magulang. Ngayon merong statement ang isang opisyal ng gobyerno, ako daw malisyosa, bakit ko siya dinemanda,” Acosta said, who was seemingly referring to Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque.
(I just want to make it clear: I wasn’t the one who filed the case but the parents. Now there is a statement coming from one of the government officials saying I was malicious telling me why I filed the case.)
Duque has claimed in the past that the cases PAO filed against him are “malicious.” He has clashed with Acosta several times regarding the Dengvaxia issue, with the latter claiming that he was consulted before the previous DOH officials procured the controversial vaccines.
“Why was I impleaded and Ubial was not? I find that malicious,” Duque said in a previous report, reasoning that the immunization program did not continue during his time at the DOH.
However, Acosta claims that the parents of the victims are merely exercising their right in pursuit of justice.
“Ako raw, oppressive. Hindi po ako ang nagdemanda sa kanya, ang nagdemanda sa kanya ang mga magulang ng namatayan at karapatan nila ‘yon [He claimed I was oppressive. I wasn’t the one who filed the case against him, the parents who lost their loved ones has that right],” Acosta added. /jpv
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