- Senator said Noy, past gov’t officials may be liable for technical malversation
- He said amount spent for dengue vaccine should have been approved by Congress
- He also questioned past administration’s hasty procurement process for Dengvaxia
MANILA, Philippines – Sen. JV Ejercito changed his tune on former president Benigno Aquino III’s innocence on the dengue vaccine controversy; saying he and his aides could be held liable for technical malversation.
Ejercito, chair of the Senate’s committee on health and demography, claimed that former budget secretary Florencio Abad and health secretary Janette Garin illegally appropriated funds when they purchased Dengvaxia without informing Congress.
“I’m not a lawyer. But as far as I know, all the procurements of the government should have appropriations approved by Congress,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying. “Here, it is very clear that the purchase of the dengue vaccine was not in the GAA [General Appropriations Act].”
As for Aquino, Ejercito said he is liable under the doctrine of command responsibility.
“If you look at the command responsibility, he must have a liability. There is negligence on his part, because it is clear, he must exercise due diligence,” he said. “As the last person to sign, he must not just presume that his underlings were ready with all the paperwork, all the studies. He was the last to sign so he must have made sure his subordinates exercised due diligence.”
Ejercito also questioned the former administration’s purchase of the vaccine; saying there was something fishy about the way it was quickly procured.
“One can really see the unprecedented speed by which this transaction was done. The President himself said they have to expedite it precisely because it’s already election year and they fear it would no longer be implemented by the next administration,” he said. “So it was really done with undue haste.”