THE Department of Justice will proceed with its probe into the criminal charges filed against former president Benigno Aquino III and 19 others for the reported deaths and serious illnesses of children injected with the anti-dengue Dengvaxia vaccine.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said his department would start the preliminary investigation of the joint complaint filed by anti-corruption groups Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc. (VPCI) and Dr. Francisco Cruz last Monday even ahead of the conclusion of government’s fact-finding investigations into the controversy.
As probers have yet to determine the cause of death of children who died after getting the vaccine, Aguirre said burden of proving the criminal liabilities of the respondents lies with the complainants.
“It’s up to the complainants to prove their allegations. It’s their duty to support their cases and not depend on another’s submission,” he explained to reporters yesterday.
Aguirre said the complaint filed by VACC and VPCI is independent of other possible complaints to be filed by other parties on the same controversy.
“It would be up to the prosecutors how to treat the complaints, whether to consolidate them or resolve separately,” he explained.
The groups filed a complaint for multiple homicide and physical injuries, malversation of public funds, and violations of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and R.A. 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act) against Aquino, former and incumbent officials of the Department of Health, and pharmaceutical firms Sanofi Pasteur and Zeullig ahead of conclusive findings by government agencies on whether the reported deaths of children inoculated with Dengvaxia were caused by the vaccine.