Press Release
February 8, 2018

Dispatch from Crame No. 240:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Statement on PAO Chief Persida Acosta's accountability for creating Dengvaxia panic


With the major questions on the Dengvaxia issue still unresolved and inconclusive, PAO Chief Persida Acosta is already determined to blame the vaccine for supposedly causing the deaths of at least 14 children autopsied by non-qualified PAO doctors. Her office's findings are contradicted by the doctors of the country's leading medical institution -- the PGH, a former health secretary, and a host of concerned medical practitioners -- most of them experts on the subject, with the latter two raising concerns about the effect of Acosta's alarmist drama antics on the government's other vaccination programs.

More and more, we are convinced that everything Acosta now pursues with all the drama flare she has accustomed us to is in aid of her appointment to higher office. Acosta does not hide keeping a moist eye for a seat in the Supreme Court. She might as well have it, but in the meantime she has other uses for the Duterte administration and DOJ Secretary Aguirre.

That neither the DOJ nor Malacañang is ordering Acosta to stop her alarmist drama antics only goes to show that they are behind this Dengvaxia panic scare to leverage against Sanofi and their target health officials in the Aquino Administration.

It is just a curiosity that these so-called Dengvaxia-victim parents, rather than pool resources to organize and call for concrete medical emergency responses, would rather spend their hard-earned money to first print T-shirts and order streamers to sport and banner before the media. Who are paying for the printing of these paraphernalia? Who is financing this orchestrated hysteria? It could be none other than the current Queen of Hysterics herself, Persida Acosta, as encouraged by the DOJ and Malacañang.

This is not to demean real and genuine concerned mothers. But all this, including the attempted elevator assault on former Secretary Garin by hysterically acting mothers, gives the impression that this is a well-funded and concerted effort to intentionally orchestrate panic and hysteria among the public.

That Malacañang opts to push and finance this panic and hysteria campaign through Acosta speaks well of how this administration is willing to sacrifice public health and safety for vindictive political ends. While paying lip service to sobriety, it unleashes and allows Acosta to continue to sow panic and hysteria among the public.

This underhanded manipulation of the people's emotions at the expense of public health vaccination programs is what is unforgiveable, more than the Dengvaxia controversy that is, in the first place, supposed to be the root of this public health issue. Already, parents are refusing all kinds of public-funded vaccinations, thus exposing our children to more danger than the Dengvaxia vaccination was ever proven to have caused, if at all.

In all of these, it is the children who continue to be the victims. It is not enough that they are used for political ends, told to hold up streamers and wear T-shirts for the benefit of a media circus event at the PAO premises. Because of the panic and hysteria, they are now prevented by their own parents from getting inoculation even for non-dengue related diseases, such as measles, the flu, small pox, etc.

There must be a crime in all these, of using children and mothers to buttress the highly questionable PAO autopsies and campaign to hold Sanofi and Aquino public health officials accountable, despite contrary findings by experts at the PGH that so far, there is still no evidence that will connect Dengvaxia vaccination to the cases of the dead children exhumed and autopsied by the PAO for display before the media.

This is more than abhorrent and condemnable action by the PAO Chief. It is patently criminal conduct. Acosta must be stopped and held accountable for creating this panicky mess she is using for her own popularity and ticket to higher office. Malacañang should just grant her wish and appoint her to the Supreme Court to stop this deadly circus she has created.

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