EYEING A HIGHER POST? | De Lima hits PAO chief Acosta’s ‘drama flare’ over Dengvaxia

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PhilStar file photo of Sen. Leila de Lima

MANILA, Philippines — Detained Sen. Leila de Lima on Thursday assailed Persida Rueda-Acosta’s “drama flare” in connection with Dengvaxia, believing that the intense emotions being shown by the chief of the Public Attorney’s Office could be for her own professional sake.

“More and more, we are convinced that everything Acosta now pursues with all the drama flare she has accustomed us to is in aid of her appointment to higher office,” said De Lima in a dispatch she issued from Camp Crame in Quezon City.

“Acosta does not hide keeping a moist eye for a seat in the Supreme Court. She might as well have it, but in the meantime she has other uses for the Duterte administration and DOJ (Department of Justice) Secretary Aguirre,” the senator added.

The lawmaker questioned why Acosta “is already determined to blame” Sanofi Pasteur’s vaccine for supposedly causing deaths of children autopsied by “non-qualified PAO doctors” when “major questions on the Dengvaxia remained unresolved.”

Her office’s findings are contradicted by the doctors of the country’s leading medical institution — the PGH (Philippine General Hospital), a former health secretary, and a host of concerned medical practitioners — most of them experts on the subject, with the latter two raising concerns about the effect of Acosta’s alarmist drama antics on the government’s other vaccination programs,” said De Lima.

“That neither the DOJ nor Malacañang is ordering Acosta to stop her alarmist drama antics only goes to show that they are behind this Dengvaxia panic scare to leverage against Sanofi and their target health officials in the Aquino Administration,” the senator said.

Also De Lima said she was curios about the parents of the supposed Dengvaxia victims, who “would rather spend their hard-earned money to first print T-shirts and order streamers to sport and banner before the media” than “pool resources to organize and call for concrete medical emergency responses.”

“Who are paying for the printing of these paraphernalia? Who is financing this orchestrated hysteria? It could be none other than the current Queen of Hysterics herself, Persida Acosta, as encouraged by the DOJ and Malacañang,” she said.

“This is not to demean real and genuine concerned mothers. But all this, including the attempted elevator assault on former Secretary Garin by hysterically acting mothers, gives the impression that this is a well-funded and concerted effort to intentionally orchestrate panic and hysteria among the public,” De Lima said.

“That Malacañang opts to push and finance this panic and hysteria campaign through Acosta speaks well of how this administration is willing to sacrifice public health and safety for vindictive political ends. While paying lip service to sobriety, it unleashes and allows Acosta to continue to sow panic and hysteria among the public,” she added.

According to the lawmaker, this alleged “underhanded manipulation of the people’s emotions at the expense of public health vaccination programs is what is unforgivable, more than the Dengvaxia controversy that is, in the first place, supposed to be the root of this public health issue.”

“Already, parents are refusing all kinds of public-funded vaccinations, thus exposing our children to more danger than the Dengvaxia vaccination was ever proven to have caused, if at all,” she said.

“In all of these, it is the children who continue to be the victims. It is not enough that they are used for political ends, told to hold up streamers and wear T-shirts for the benefit of a media circus event at the PAO premises. Because of the panic and hysteria, they are now prevented by their own parents from getting inoculation even for non-dengue related diseases, such as measles, the flu, small pox, etc.,” the senator said.