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PAO's Acosta, Erfe deny using Dengvaxia cases for corruption

Public Attorney's Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta and PAO Forensic Laboratory Chief Erwin Erfe on Monday filed their counter-affidavits in which they denied the allegation that they used the Dengvaxia court cases as an opportunity for corruption.

In a seven-page manifestation submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman, Acosta and Erfe said that the allegations made by lawyer Wilfredo Garrido and anonymous lawyers that they had misappropriated the P13-million used for office supplies in the Dengvaxia cases were baseless, malicious, and fictitious.

“This is a demolition job and black propaganda; an affront to the independence and integrity of the PAO which is just doing its mandate as the principal law office of the government in extending free legal assistance to indigent persons in criminal, civil, labor, administrative, and other quasi-judicial cases,” the PAO officials argued.

“This kind of hoax should not be given any consideration at all by this Honorable Body and should not be used in any manner to tarnish the PAO as an institution.”

Furthermore, Acosta claimed that the complaints filed against them hindered the effort to find justice for the Dengvaxia-vaccinated children who later died.

“Although the herein respondent Chief Public Attorney treats this disturbance and harassment as part of her travails as a public servant performing her duty to uphold the rule of law, truth and equity in furtherance of justice due to the victims of the Dengvaxia vaccine, this kind of harassment case disrupts the continuous delivery of public service,” Acosta claimed in the counter-affidavit.

“Thus, these [accusations] must be treated as a mere scrap of paper and stricken out of the records.”

GMA News had sought comment from Garrido, but he had yet to a reply as of posting time.

Last week, Ombudsman Samuel Martires confirmed that Acosta and Erfe were under investigation as a result of the complaint Garrido filed against them in April. — DVM, GMA News