After hearing the testimony of former President S. Benigno Aquino III, Senator JV Ejercito is convinced that the ex-Chief Executive’s decision allowing the implementation of the P3.5 billion anti-dengue immunization program using Dengvaxia was done in good faith.
The vaccination drive was first implemented during Aquino’s term in 2016. But just recently, French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur warned that its own vaccine may have harmful effects when administered to people who have not been infected by the dengue virus.
“Personally, I think P-Noy (Aquino’s initials) did it in good faith, to avert dengue outbreak in the future,” Ejercito said in a text message on Friday, a day after Aquino faced the Senate blue ribbon committee, which has been conducting hearings on the controversy.
“But it’s the other officials who might have taken advantage and did not give him an extensive report that includes the risk, if there was,” he also said.
Ejercito pointed out that presidents only rely on their secretaries or heads of agencies for information on every important issue.
“A President would presume that the due diligence was done, that clinical tests were likewise completed and strict protocols were followed,” Ejercito noted.
“My personal take is that not all information was disclosed, so that the transaction will push through. Possible that he (Aquino) was misinformed on the whole dengue vaccine issue,” he added.
What was evident though, he pointed out, was that the whole transaction was done in haste.
Aquino justified his actions related to the government’s anti-dengue vaccination program, including the use of Dengvaxia, when he testified during Thursday’s committee hearing at the Senate.
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