Category: politics

dengvaxia fiasco: a curious conspiracy

curious because it straddles two administrations, aquino’s and duterte’s.  former president aquino’s DOH sec janette garin started it rolling in april 2016 (though she alleges that it was secretary enrique ona (whom she replaced) who first pushed for the use of dengvaxia.  president duterte’s first DOH sec paulyn ubial tried to stop it but she was overruled by the 17th congress, it would seem.  read A huge conspiracy by jojo robles; though known to be a ka-DDS, he does not hesitate to call out both houses of the 17th congress for refusing to heed warnings by medical professioonals.

When the current Congress opened in the middle of last year, a two-term lawmaker from Quezon province, Rep. Angelina Tan, who was also chairman of the House committee on health, started an investigation into the P3.5-billion “midnight” anti-dengue immunization program of the Aquino administration using the Dengvaxia vaccine. By February of this year, the committee of Tan, a rural doctor by profession, had completed a draft report on its probe, which contained damning findings and recommended the suspension of the program.

According to the Tan committee, the Department of Health found that 997 children vaccinated with Dengvaxia, a product of French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur, suffered “adverse effects” after being inoculated with the first of the three-dose vaccine. Fully 30 of these cases required hospitalization, the committee report said, and two of the 30 children died.

… what the House leadership of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez actually did was to stymie the Tan committee and bury its draft report. The two committees were unable to form a consensus, thereby effectively “killing” the Tan panel’s explosive findings.

Instead of suspending the implementation of the Dengvaxia program, the House even convinced Health Secretary-designate Paulyn Ubial to expand it to the Central Visayas region. Under the Aquino administration, the program had only targeted children in public schools in three regions—Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog—for inclusion in the program.

During the confirmation and budget hearings attended by Ubial, she was repeatedly pressured to widen the scope of the vaccination program, which the health secretary initially resisted on medical grounds. At the same time, a vocal anti-Ubial faction rose in the House, led by Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque (who is now spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte), among others, which Ubial decided would only stop opposing her appointment if she agreed to continue and expand the Dengvaxia immunization campaign; ironically, Ubial’s appointment was rejected by the Commission on Appointments despite her expansion of the vaccination scheme.

It is worth noting that a similar investigation started by Senator Richard Gordon on the Dengvaxia immunization program in the Senate in December last year also went nowhere. Gordon, in an interview this week, allegedly cited a lack of public interest in the case and the refusal of DoH officials led by Ubial to cooperate in the Senate probe.

read Roque hits DOH flip-flopping on dengue vaccines back in dec 2016.  read also Health professionals umalmang huwag ‘i-hostage’ ang DOH budget back in october 2016, this one naming cebu rep gwen garcia, yes, she who today assiduously argues for cj sereno’s impeachment, as leader of the pro-dengvaxia pack.

Sa ginanap na DOH budget hearing noong Setyembre, sinabi raw ng ilang mga mambabatas sa pangunguna ni Cebu Congresswoman Gwen Garcia, na hindi ipapasa ang DOH budget kung hindi isasama ang alokasyon para sa implementasyon ng mas malawakang dengue vaccine program.

Nauna nang sinabi ng DOH na itutuloy na lamang ang 2nd at 3rd doses ng vaccine para sa halos 500,000 na batang nabigyan na ng unang dose pero hindi na ito dadagdagan pa ng iba pang batch ng mga batang tuturukan ng bakuna hanggat hindi nasisiguro ng ahensya na ligtas ito.

Ito ang naging desisyon ng DOH batay na rin sa rekomedasyon ng panel of experts na kanilang binuo. Naniniwala kasi ang mga ekperto na posibleng may long-term at short-term side effects ang bakuna kaya’t kailangan pa nito nang mas masusing pag-aaral.

Iginigiit naman ng mga mambabatas, kailangan ng kanilang constituents ang vaccine.

looking forward to senate hearing tomorrow.  meron daw surprise witness from DOH.    it would be good to hear from dr. ona, too, and from spokesman harry and rep gwen na rin, please.

The Dengue Vaccine Fiasco… Papaya Leaf Juice, Anyone?

A CASE FOR ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES  

Dr. Godofredo U. Stuart

The Dengvaxia vaccine is “the biggest government funded clinical-trial-masked-as-a-public-health-program scam of an experimental drug in the history of the DOH.”

It’s a damning charge made by Dr. Susan Pineda-Mercado, former DOH undersecretary and international public health expert. it is an indictment of our health care system—the politics, the lobbying, the sway of big pharma, the conflicts of interests, and possible complicity of many in fast-tracking and green-lighting the processes of exemption, procurement and purchase of the vaccine.

Rep. Estrelita Suansing supports the charge with comments that were no less forgiving: that approval and P3B budget allocation for the vaccine purchase seemed hasty and impulsive. . . that the fund source might not have undergone Congressional scrutiny . .that the purchase was not included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2015. Others in the medical community concurred the vaccine program had misplaced priorities, procedural lapses, and conflicts of interest.

Even after the approval was criticized as hasty and impulsive, there were signs early on that the vaccine was laden with problems. The public health community has been outraged for a year, said Dr.Mercado. Why did it take so long to take it down? Why did it have to wait for Sanofi’s confessional?

Read on…

andy agonizes, to resign or not to resign

now that the impeachment process has started rolling in the House despite the majority leader’ objections, and now that his fellow commissioners have publicly asked him to resign or take a leave so he can attend to his troubles with family, SALN, atbp., comelec chief andy bautista has to decide soon, and he says he will, in the next few days.

In a radio interview, Bautista admitted that he has reached a crossroad in his life where [he] is now weighing the interests of his family, the Comelec, democracy, and the 2016 elections.

clearly, family is not the primary consideration or he would have resigned already. so it must be the 2016 elections.  the grapevine has always alleged that it was rigged, that comelec and smartmatic connived to make LP win (mar, leni, the senate slate) except that in mar’s case, duterte was so far ahead, naging imposible nang talunin, which of course puts leni’s win, and our so-called democracy, into question, along with: how many votes did every one get ba talaga?

andy bautista has always denied it: no evidence or proof of cheating daw.  if that is so, then what is it about the comelec and democracy and 2016 that weighs on his mind more heavily than family?

can it be na totoo ang chismis, there was cheating?  which could mean that andy has been hoping that the beneficiaries of the cheating would could move heaven and earth to foil an impeachment attempt dahil sasabit din sila?  and / or maybe andy has been hoping to strike a deal with the duterte admin — leave me be and i will make sure you win the plebiscite on charter change and federalism?  is that too wild a thought?

alas for andy, an impeachment complaint was filed august 23 by former negros oriental rep jacinto paras and lawyer ferdinand topacio.

Apart from alleged misdeclaration in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, the complainants also cited as ground for the criminal liability of Bautista the hacking of the Comelec website that led to the leakage of voters’ database as found by the National Privacy Commission.

They accused him of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust in the complaint, which was immediately endorsed by three representatives… Gwen Garcia of Cebu, Abraham Tolentino of Cavite and Harry Roque of Kabayan.

the very next day, august 24, the house of reps’ secretary-general transmitted the complaint to the office of the speaker who has 10 session days to refer it to the rules committee that has three session days to refer it to the justice committee that has sole jurisdiction over impeachment cases.    

majority leader rudy fariñas, however, is being difficult.  puro hearsay lang daw, absent the personal knowledge of the complainants.

Fariñas underscored the importance of the verification portion of an impeachment document, which states that complainants must have evidence of their “own personal knowledge and/or culled from authentic documents”.

also, kailangan daw munang tapusin ng House ang budget deliberations, which he says wlll be around mid-september pa.  hmmm.  back in the time of corona, fariñas was part of a minority that didn’t sign the impeachment complaint.  today, it is said that it is he, not speaker alvarez, who calls the shots in the House.  read manolo quezon’s A Congress of cats

Today, the point person in the House is Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, arguably one of the most powerful holders of that position in living memory. This is because Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, even in his previous stint as a representative, was never a major mover or shaker and, aside from his closeness to President Duterte, lacks a track record of leadership or camaraderie, or a party franchise and independent means to quickly assert personal dominance in the House (in contrast to his predecessors and successors who were active party men before they assumed the speakership, like Manuel Villar Jr. who compensated for his lack of political ties with an immense personal fortune and by taking over the Nacionalista Party franchise).

in the year 2000 it took just 11 days from the chavit exposé that tagged erap as a jueteng lord (oct 7) for the house of reps to file a motion to impeach (oct 18).  in less than a month (nov 13) senate prez manny villar, upon obtaining the minimum one-third (73 of 218) votes, declared erap impeached and ordered the complaint transmitted to the senate without delay.  trial started dec 7 and abruptlly ended jan 17 2001.

in 2011 it took just six days since the PNoy speech (dec 6) savaging chief justice renato corona (seated just two meters away) for being beholden to former prez gma and for his foiled attempt to allow her to leave the country against the new admin’s wishes.  dec 12 iloilo rep niel tupas of the justice committee presented an impeachment complaint that a few hours later was signed by 188 of 284 reps and transmitted at once to the senate.  the trial began jan 16, ended may 29  2012.

in 2017 it’s taken 16 days for tish’s exposé to elicit an impeachment complaint. despite fariñas.  quick enough, considering that so much else is going on.  feels like a confluence of events coming up, and then again maybe not, yet.  the only thing i’m sure of is that we’re being asked to multi-task, to be vigilant on multiple fronts.  it’s a test.

no documents, no proof

now that paolo duterte’s name has come up as, allegedly, a player of sorts in the illegal drugs market, the senate hearing on the huge shabu smuggling under faeldon’s watch seems to be going nowhere remarkable, except maybe to demonstrate how impossible it is to get names named and personalities shamed and charged, puro “hearsay” kasi, walang dokumento.  and so when the prez says about the pagkakadawit of his son: show me the evidence, give me an affidavit, and i will resign (cool na cool), eh wala na, tapos na ang boksing.

imagine if comelec chief andy bautista were as cool-na-cool re wife tish’s allegations. instead he looks, seems, gets hot under the collar, the same with his kuya martin.  i suppose because nga of all those documents that tish found and that are now under scrutiny by the authorities.  even if he were innocent, he has a lot of explaining to do, and really he has no one to blame but himself.  given the animosity pala between him and his wife, it’s hard to believe how careless he was with such important documents, atbp.  it tells me that he became too sure of himself (hubris) and of his power over his wife (money).

anyway manolo quezon raises a good point.

…it’s not as if the common-sense solution for anyone desiring to exonerate themselves isn’t clear. With so many officials, elected or not, weighing in, the obvious solution seems curiously absent so far: Bautista signing a waiver to all his bank accounts.

the yellow camp believes, hopes, prays that chief andy will be found innocent, of course.  unless he’s guilty beyond reasonable doubt.  then, next we pray that duterte finds and appoints a rare one who is relatively beyond reproach, both at home and at work, and who will get us out of the pocket of smartmatic.