GABRIELA Women’s Party filed on Friday, Dec. 22, a complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman against former president Benigno S.C. Aquino III and other officials over the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine.

In the complaint filed by Gabriela Reps. Emmi A. De Jesus and Arlene D. Brosas, secretary-general Joan May E. Salvador, and the parents of children inoculated with the dengue vaccine, they accused Mr. Aquino, former executive secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr. former budget secretary Florencio B. Abad, former health secretary Janette L. Garin, and officials of pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur, among others, of violation of Section 3 of the Republic Act (RA) 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

“This is practically a whole generation ng mga bata na buong buhay nila ay mangangamba kung ano ang magiging adverse effect nitong ginawa na parang guinea pigs ‘yung ating mga kabataan,” Ms. Salvador told reporters. (This is practically a whole generation of children who have to deal with dread their whole lives as to the possible adverse effect of being made guinea pigs.)

“This is not only a health issue; this is a national issue,” she added. “Naghahabol tayo na mapanagot sa mga kasong ito ang mga kinauukulan at mga responsible at mga involved na officials because public office is a public trust. At bilang mga taxpayer, halimbawa po kami, gusto po nating makamtan ang accountability ng ating mga public officials.” (We are going after those responsible and the officials involved because public office is a public trust. And as taxpayers, like us, we want accountability for our public officials.)

The complainants are also looking into adding some members of the present administration under President Rodrigo R. Duterte as respondents in the case for continuing with the vaccination.

Gabriela also filed for a writ of continuing mandamus before the Supreme Court to call for the government’s continued support for the affected children.

Also named respondents in their petition Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III; Mr. Lyndon L. Lee Suy, program director of the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control of the Department of Health; Nela Charade G. Puno, director-general of the Food and Drug Administration; Education Secretary Leonor M. Briones; and Catalino S. Cuy, officer-in-charge of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

One of the parents present during the filing said she hopes the government would at least extend financial help to the families of the affected children.

She said she has spent about P1,600 when she had her 13-year-old daughter checked after experiencing high fever and rashes. Her daughter was thrice inoculated with Dengvaxia. She said she blames Sanofi for what happened to her daughter. — Minde Nyl R. Dela Cruz