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DOJ junks pathologist’s testimony in Dengvaxia

PhilStar Global logo PhilStar Global 10/18/2018 Evelyn Macairan
a man holding a sign: DOJ junks pathologist’s testimony in Dengvaxia © Michael Varcas DOJ junks pathologist’s testimony in Dengvaxia

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) panel of prosecutors denied the motion of former health secretary Janette Garin to accept the supporting affidavit of an expert in some of the Dengvaxia-related complaints filed against her.

The panel of prosecutors led by Maria Emilia Victorio denied the manifestation and motion of Garin in submitting a sworn statement by pathologist Dr. Raymond Lo last Sept. 21.

In a seven-page order, the prosecutors said the supporting affidavit was already too late. 

The panel said motion filed was “not well-taken” because according to the Rules on Criminal Court, the respondent Garin should have submitted her counter-affidavit along with the affidavits of her witnesses and supporting documents. 

In this case, Garin received the last three of the nine complaints last May 24 and she was given one month to submit her counter-affidavit.

Garin submitted her counter-affidavit last June 25 and she was given opportunity to ventilate her defense and enough time to secure the affidavits of her witnesses.

“It is indeed very late in the day for her to submit the affidavit of a witness at this time when she had already filed her rejoinder-affidavit. More importantly, there is nothing in the motion which shows any valid and justifiable reason for the very late submission of Dr. Lo’s affidavit in support of respondent’s defense,” the panel added.

Lo, who has 38 years of experience in the field of pathology, is described as a licensed physician and an expert pathologist specializing in anatomic and clinical pathology.

In his supporting affidavit, Lo also reportedly assailed the supposed expertise of Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) forensic team leader Dr. Erwin Erfe and questioned the procedures they used in conducting the autopsy examinations of the victims. 

He also allegedly debunked the PAO’s forensic team’s conclusion that Dengvaxia vaccine was the cause of death of the victims.

The panel pointed out that in the preliminary investigation, the investigating officer only acts on the probable cause and reasonable belief, not proof beyond reasonable doubt.

“In view of the foregoing, the instant motion to admit the supporting affidavit of Dr. Raymundo Lo has no leg to stand on. For indeed, this is not the occasion for the full and exhaustive display of the parties’ evidence. The parties have been adequately accorded due process with the submission of their respective pleadings,” it said.

The panel said the issues raised by Lo are better threshed out during trial.

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