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Lacson bucks Dengvaxia report

SENATOR Panfilo Lacson has questioned the Blue Ribbon Committee report on the Dengvaxia controversy that led to the filIng of criminal and civil cases against former President Benigno Aquino III and some of his Cabinet and Health officials.

He also requested that the Committee Report 368, drafted by Committee chairman Senator Richard Gordon, be referred to the Committee on Rules for discussion and resolution due to several questions hounding it.

Lacson made his statement even as the chairman of the House of Representatives’ committee on appropriations warned the public on the possible proliferation of fake Dengvaxia cards, which could worsen the situation for genuine vaccinees.

During Wednesday’s briefing by the Health department at the House appropriations committee, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, the head of the panel, said even the Health department-issued Dengvaxia cards were now being forged.

He urged Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to put in place stringent safeguards in connection with the verification of the Dengvaxia cards.

In his parliamentary inquiry aired on the senate floor, Lacson noted that out of the 22 members of the three committees that investigated the P3.4-billion Dengvaxia deal, only 14 signed the report.

The report on Dengvaxia was filed on April 30, 2018 by the Blue Ribbon Committee jointly with the Committee on Health and Demography and Committee on Finance.

After reading the report, particularly its signature page and its various attachments, Lacson said he noticed that some members of the three committees signed the report with concurring and dissenting votes.

In addition, he said, some senators signed with reservations, while Senators Franklin Drilon and Leila de Lima, joined by their colleagues in the minority, filed their separate dissenting opinions. Others or at least this representation did not sign.

Lacson said he had a couple of issues to raise for the Committee on Rules to resolve.

“First, may I inquire on the number of signatures needed in support of the committee report for it to be filed with the Bills and Index Division and considered for floor deliberation?” Lacson said.

He also questioned if those signing with concurring and dissenting opinions were counted in determining the majority.

“How about those signing with reservations?” said Lacson who has maintained he did not believe that Aquino was capable of corruption.

The second issue, Lacson said, involved cases where several committees were conducting an inquiry in aid of legislation involving certain issues.

Assuming that the primary committee prepared the report, Lacson asked if the majority requirement for purposes of filing and consideration by the Senate on a per committee-basis or all the members of the different committees were lumped together.

Topics: Senator Panfilo Lacson , President Benigno Aquino III , Senator Richard Gordon , Health Secretary Francisco Duque III
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