Panel of prosecutors formed to hear VACC case vs PNoy et al. over dengvaxia mess

Former President Benigno Aquino III in a huddle with former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad during a Senate hearing. The Aquino-era officials are once more in the limelight over revelations that they conducted a bidding for a P9.3-B DOH project despite the item not being in the GAA. File photo by Geremy Pintolo, Philippine Star.

MANILA – The Department of Justice has formed a panel of prosecutors to conduct the preliminary investigation in the criminal case filed by an anti-crime watchdog against former President Benigno Aquino III and several others over the mass immunization of 830,000 students with the dengue vaccine in 2016.

Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr. signed the Feb. 23, 2018 order designating four prosecutors to form the panel. They are Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rossane Balauag as chair, and the following as members: senior assistant state prosecutor Hazel Decena Valdez and assistant state prosecutors Consuelo Pazziuagan and Gino Paolo Santiago.

The case, with National Prosecution Service Docket number XVI-INV-188-00035, was filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) against Aquino, who approved the realignment of savings to the mass vaccination a few months before the 2016 elections, and several other officials, notably his Cabinet members Florencio Abad of budget and Janette Garin of health.

They are accused of violating Sec. 3(e) of Republic Act 3019; Sec. 65(3) of RA 9184; and Articles 220 and 365 of the Revised Penal Code.- With a report from JV Arcena, News5