“One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised” –Chinua Achebe
Ilonggos will be watching with bated breath as former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin defends the controversial purchase during the term of former President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III of the controversial P3.5 billion anti-dengue vaccination, which is now the subject of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Since Loreto-Garin, 45, is a former Iloilo provincial board member and the wife of Iloilo 1st District Rep. Oscar ‘Richard’ Garin Jr., the Ilonggos are worried that her name might be dragged in the controversy which has the potential to explode as a tidal wave.
Since it involves billions of pesos and tagged as “danger to public health” (about 10 percent of the estimated 700,000 children vaccinated prior to dengue infection are reportedly at risk), the story has sent shockwaves all over the world.
So far, no Ilonggo public servant who served in the national government has been implicated in a scandal of horrific proportion in recent memory.
We are confident that, without prejudice to the ongoing NBI probe as ordered by the Department of Justice (DOJ) effective December 4, 2017, Loreto-Garin will not besmirch the reputation of Ilonggos and can wiggle out from the difficult dilemma.
Loreto-Garin, one of the richest cabinet officials who served under the Aquino administration, has no derogatory record in as far as public service is concerned.
That’s why her relatives in Leyte and in-laws in Iloilo as well as their political supporters, are not worried that the controversy might cause dishonor to her name and jeopardize the political future of the Garins once the NBI has conducted its full blown investigation.
Loreto-Garin’s innocence in the anti-vaccine tumult is vital as the Philippines prepares for the next congressional elections, which is about 15 months away.
Most of her in-laws in Iloilo are gunning for important elective seats, and they can’t afford to carry a heavy baggage like the controversy Loreto-Garin is in today during the campaign period.
If the NBI investigation will find Loreto-Garin among those liable in the alleged anomalous DOH-Sanofi Pasteur P3.5 billion Dengvaxia deal, her husband and in-laws could suffer the domino effects in the 2019 elections.
The entire Garin clan’s political luck rests on Loreto-Garin’s shoulders.
Some Iloilo City hall “job hires” assigned in the Esplanade for the city government’s cleanliness program are reportedly being required to report morning and afternoon to work as sweepers without day off effective December 2017.
To compound the matter, they can hardly make both ends meet because aside from their low salary, they are also allegedly being paid late.
If true, let’s hope that City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) chief, Engr. Noel Hechanova, can help them.
With or without peace talks with the communist and the seccesionist rebels, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should always be on the watch for possible ambush and raid in their precincts and detachments.
They aren’t supposed to let their guards down and complain of harassment ad “treachery” when they are killed in “surprised” attacks.
Soldiers should always be on alert because they have been sworn to protect the republic from those who intend to topple the government; and that’s why they are hailed as heroes.
Being killed in action or in “surprised” attacks is part of the risk they face every day./WDJ