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Ombudsman investigates Acosta, Erfe over corruption, Dengvaxia.

Ombudsman investigates Acosta, Erfe over corruption, Dengvaxia !-- -- Kristine Joy Patag ( - August 16, 2019 - 5:18pm MANILA, Philippines The Office of the Ombudsman on Friday said it is conducting investigation into corruption allegations, including Dengvaxia issue, against Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Acosta and forensics chief Erwin Erfe.

In a statement, the Ombudsman said it "is conducting preliminary investigation and administrative adjudication against [Acosta] and [Erfe], Chief of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) Forensic Laboratory, on corruption allegations within the agency including the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine issue." class="twitter-tweet" .722972972973 JUST IN: Ombudsman to conduct a formal investigation against PAO chief Persida Acosta and PAO Forensic Laboratory chief Erwin Erfe for allegedly creating public hysteria on the Dengvaxia vaccine.

| @marcelo_beth pic.twitter.

com/LntozZnSyZ The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) August 16, 2019 Garrido complaint

The Ombudsman said that the office received complaint from Wilfredo Garrido Jr. on April 11, 2019. Garrido accused Acosta and Erge of illegally creating its forensic laboratory and manufacturing evidence for a Dengvaxia complaint.

He said that a forensic report from Erfe dated May 9, 2018 certified the results of an autopsy conducted on a 13-year-old girl who died in January 2018 due to "Dengue shock syndrome," after receiving a "number of doses of Dengvaxia." "There was just one problem.

The deceased..

.was not actually administered the Dengvaxia vaccine," the complaint read.

READ:How the Dengvaxia scare helped erode decades of public trust in vaccines Acosta has become the face of those who claimed that their families died due to the controversial anti-Dengue vaccine. The ombudsman said that Acosta and Erfe are facing complaints for graft, falsification by public officer, malversation and illegal use of public funds or property.

They are also facing administrative complaints for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, grave abuse of authority and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. The ombudsman said that Acosta and Erfe filed their consolidated counter-affidavit on April 30. 'PAO lawyers' manifestation

The ombudsman said: "During the course of investigation, several other pleadings were filed by the respective parties.

" It added that it received on August 8 a pleading entitled "Manifestation with Prayer for Public Respondents Immediate Preventive Suspension from Office." The manifestation was signed by "alleged 'DOJ PAO lawyers.

'" Unnamed PAO lawyers reportedly urged the ombudsman to investigate and suspend Acosta and forensics chief Erwin Erfe of scheming to receive extra budget. The manifestation was submitted to supplement Garrido's complaint.

But on Thursday night, more than 100 lawyers of PAO disowned the statement and called it "fake news." In a signed manifesto, PAO lawyers said: "Obviously, the manifestation was fabricated by someone else unscrupulous person/s who resort to shady schemes and strategies to advance their personal cause.

" Ombudsman Samuel Martires for his part said: "[T]he corruption allegations against the high-ranking PAO officials will be judiciously scrutinized and the cases shall be resolved solely on the basis of the evidence presented by the parties." Malacaaang and the Department of Justice said they willlet the ombudsman handle the complaintagainst Acosta.
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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Date:Aug 16, 2019
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