Aquino fears De Lima's fate will happen to him: "Hindi natin maiwasang mag-isip ng ganun,”

Former President Benigno Aquino III / photo from Manila Bulletin (ctto)

Former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III appeared at the Department of Justice on Monday to submit his counter affidavit to the charges filed against him in connection with his administration’s procurement of the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine.

Former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Health Secretary Janette Garin appeared in the court for the preliminary probe.

They are facing charges that could be graft, and violation of procurement laws, technical malversation, criminal negligence for buying and carrying out a nationwide immunization program, to putting at risk the health of over 890,000 Filipino children.

The former chief executive also admitted that sometimes, it crossed his mind that he could also suffer the same fate as the detained Senator, Leila De Lima.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, and Citizens Cr1me Watch President Diego Magpantay filed the complaint against Aquino, Abad, Garin, former Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and other health officials involved.

Aquino and his former officials were accused of pocketing part of the P3.5 billion fund for the procurement of dengue vaccine Dengvaxia (the world’s first Dengue vaccine) from Sanofi Pasteur.

When Aquino was asked if there is fear that he might end up in jail, he said: ““Hindi natin maiwasang mag-isip ng ganun,”

The former president is facing another case before the Sandiganbayan over failed Mamasapano operation. Aside from this, the probe into the constitutionality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) under his term was reopened.

Aquino added that he was also saddened that Sen. De Lima was locked up in jail because of the testimonies of convicted felons.

Senator De Lima has been detained at the custodial center of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp Crame for more than a year now because of her alleged involvement in drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison.

“The only (thing) we have is the truth and with the help of God, we will overcome these challenges,” the former chief executive said.

Further, Aquino’s former Health and Budget officials have recently gotten involved over P10.6 billion Philhealt funds diverted to health enhancement program which earned another irk from the people.

Based on the testimony of Philhealth Executive Vice President Ruben John Basa, the transfer transpired sometime in 2015.

Then Health Secretary Janette Garin and PhilHealth President Alex Padilla jointly wrote a letter to also then Budget Secretary Florencio Abad requesting the transfer of P10.6 billion from the Miscellaneous Personnel and Benefits Fund (MPBF) in the 2015 budget to fund a program of the Department of Health (DoH) for the construction of barangay health stations.

The request was immediately approved by Abad and former Executive Secretary Ochoa.

But the release of funds sometime in December 2015 was reportedly done without the approval and knowledge of the Philhealth board at that time – which was also the same period that Garin and Padilla were pressing for the release of the P3.5 billion money to procure Dengvaxia.

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