On Dengvaxia mess: PAO chief enjoying her 15 mins of fame

Chief Public Attorney Persida Acosta seemed on the roll these days. For so many days now, Acosta has been seen on television, heard on the radio and her name plastered all over broadsheets and tabloids commenting on what she believes is a “conspiracy” to cover up the Dengvaxia mess. For Acosta, there’s an epidemic of severe dengue right now, threatening the lives of 800,000 kids inoculated in a public anti-dengue vaccination program initiated by the Department of Health two years ago.

We sincerely don’t know where Acosta got that idea of this country’s kids now dying due to severe dengue and who Acosta saw among her colleagues in government trying or actually covering up this Dengvaxia probe.

Is Acosta accusing the Duterte administration, specifically the alter-ego of the president, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, siding with Sanofi Pasteur and giving all excuses, denying everything in public just to cover up what Acosta thinks as an epidemic? C’mon Attorney Acosta where did you get that information?

To the untrained eye such as Acosta’s, four or ten kids whose deaths show an alleged “pattern” of causes already qualify as an epidemic. For what we all know, the only one who can declare an epidemic is the infectious disease unit of the Department of Health. Duque already denied such an epidemic yet Acosta, together with another, self-proclaimed health expert Dr. Tony Leachon whose brother had a graft case before the Sandiganbayan, continue to go around town proclaiming and shouting to the whole damned world how cursed this country is because its health department vaccinated 800,000 kids including those who haven’t had any history of dengue infections.

Honestly, the presence of these two idiots  is turning out to be one of the worse things one can ever see on the telly. Everyone knows how Acosta tried yet failed to get that plum spot as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. She bungled that highly public interview big-time. Imagine my consternation when I heard Acosta confusing her verbs, adverbs and tenses before respected members of the legal profession. And to think that Acosta was one of the bar top-notchers in the 1985 or 1989 bar exams?

Is Acosta doing all these monstrosities in public for the sake of a spot in the remaining four spots of PDP-LABAN’s senatorial slate for 2019? Since 2016, Acosta has been reported to have entertained thoughts of getting her foot at the Senate door, some even describing her as “desperate.”

Sincerely, we don’t want to ascribe malicious imputations on her true intentions, yet Acosta should realise that she is doing a great disservice even to these so-called victims of dengvaxia when she allows herself to be interviewed and when her forensic consultant released his inconclusive and unconfirmed findings about those four kids whose deaths reportedly established clear similarities or patterns?

PAO is being given public funds to provide free legal services to indigents, not to campaign for media attention. Is Acosta being allowed even by her boss, Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre to even conduct those forensic examinations when the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) had already been tasked by the good secretary as lead investigating agency on the Dengvaxia issue.

What if the NBI releases a different finding which conflicts with PAO’s? Which report will these victims then use as basis for filing criminal or civil cases against whoever was responsible for this?

Acosta should stick where she is best—lending free legal services to poor people especially victims of tokhang or extra judicial killings, rapes, domestic violence and what have you. She’s spending monies, valuable public funds, funding these forensic examinations when the DOH and the DOJ are already doing the same things?

Besides, Acosta should also consider the effects of such irresponsible remarks. She is causing undue panic among the people. The World Health Organisation and even the Department of Health already declared that there is no epidemic and no Dengvaxia-related deaths yet–why is Acosta prejudging and going before the cart? Or Acosta knows in her heart that she has no cause of action and using the media not just as a theatrical platform but a venue to generate evidence? Let me remind Acosta that our judicial system is not yet a jury-based one. Like laboratories, our courts use scientific evidence to establish guilt. Maybe Acosta knows she handles weak cases and just trying to court favourable public approbation at the expense of this country’s national immunisation program? Seems like it.


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