Aquino, Garin, Abad expected to face DOJ panel over Dengvaxia

MANILA, Philippines – Former president Benigno Aquino III is expected to attend a preliminary investigation at the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday, June 4, regarding the graft complaint filed against him over the purchase of the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine.

Aquino is expected to be joined by former budget secretary Florencio Abad as well as current and former officials from the Department of Health (DOH), including:

Officials from vaccine manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur and its distributor Zuellig Pharma are also expected to appear before the DOJ panel.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rossane Balauag, who heads the DOJ panel, asked the respondents to appear when submitting their counter-affidavits.

Aquino previously failed to appear during the panel's first preliminary hearing last May 15. Instead, Aquino's lawyer Mildred Umali was the one who received a copy of the complaint. (READ: Aquino says unqualified 'experts' politicized Dengvaxia probe)

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and the Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution previously filed a graft complaint against Aquino and the other government officials.

The two groups claimed that Aquino and 44 others were criminally liable when they allegedly "anomalously and illegally funded and procured the Dengvaxia vaccine and ill-advisedly, thoughtlessly, and imprudently implemented the dengue immunization" project of the DOH. (READ: Aquino hits 'Dick Gordon show,' draft report on Dengvaxia– Rappler.com