Noy to attend Senate hearing on dengue vaccine mess

  • Former president said he will appear in Senate inquiry on Dengvaxia controversy
  • He is hoping they can discuss issues in a sober manner
  • Gordon assured Aquino of respectful hearing

MANILA, Philippines  –  Former president Benigno Aquino III has indicated his appearance at the Senate hearing on the Dengvaxia vaccine scandal on Thursday.

Aquino, under whose administration the dengue vaccination program was implemented nationwide, said he hopes his attendance will lead to a sober discussion which can generate solutions to the problem.

“I hope that my appearing will promote a more sober discussion leading to the formulation of appropriate actions,” GMA News quoted him as saying.

The former president had earlier confirmed receiving an invitation from the Senate to appear in its inquiry.

“We want to participate in telling the truth to the people, as we have always done; at the same time, observing compliance to various laws, rules and traditions,” he said.

Aquino’s executive secretary Paquito Ochoa will also reportedly attend.

For his part, Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee which will preside over the hearing, assured Aquino that he will be treated with respect.

“We will treat them with respect. I can assure you that,” he said. “My politics is basically protecting the country, protecting the young people of this country, especially the kids and let the cards fall where they may. Hindi naman natin babastusin ang (dating) Pangulo [We will not demean the former President].”

Dengvaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur’s admission that those who were vaccinated but had no prior history of dengue may suffer adverse effects led to the suspension of the government’s P3.5-billion program.

The House of Representatives is currently probing the matter and has grilled Health Secretary Francisco Duque and his predecessors Janette Garin and Paulyn Ubial over the issue.