“Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way.” –Swami Vivekananda
Let’s not be quick to throw stone at former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin.
Like any accused, she deserves her day in court.
There’s no concrete proof yet that the lady physician benefitted financially from the controversial purchase by the DOH during the Aquino administration of the P3.5 billion anti-dengue vaccine.
Everything is mere speculation. The human mind is always critical and suspicious.
There’s no clear evidence yet that she acted alone and was solely responsible for the hated deal.
No one can tell that the former Iloilo board member had committed glaring or malicious intentions to inflect harm on anybody and pocket multi-million kickbacks.
As the DOH’s highest official when the program was conceptualized, we aren’t surprised that Loreto-Garin, 45, is now being crucified and condemned like a heretic.
When lawmakers, broadcasters, and parents mentioned Loreto-Garin’s name, it’s like they were describing Medusa, a Gorgon and winged female monster in the Greek mythology.
We can’t imagine the distress and sadness Loreto-Garin and her family have been going through ever since the brouhaha exploded on national and international media a few days ago.
We can’t also imagine the horror and panic the report has caused thousands of Filipino parents whose children were among those vaccinated by the now infamous DOH program.
What we learned from reports was that the implementation of the program for school children in the Philippines has been halted after Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine Dengvaxia manufacturer, ruled that the vaccine is unsafe for use of those who have not been infected with dengue.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has been tasked by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to probe the alleged fiasco effective December 4, 2017.
Since the NBI investigation is still on infant stage, we can’t yet pinpoint the gun and pull the trigger on any Tom, Dick, and Harry mentioned and blamed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) in the deal.
Loreto-Garin herself has signified her willingness to cooperate with the investigators “in due time” and “in the proper forum” because she was reportedly still busy attending to her ailing father.
Before he said yes to the invitation of Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III to grace the 2018 Dinagyang Festival, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte had been invited through social media by Marivic Mabilog, wife of “dismissed” Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, to drop by the controversial “mansion” located near the Iloilo River so he would see that it is not really expensive as what critics of Mayor Mabilog have been declaring.
When the presidential entourage goes to the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand from the Iloilo International Airport for the big event in the third week of January 2018, it will pass by the magnificent Iloilo River.
From a distance, President Duterte would be able to see the controversial Mabilog house.
It’s important that he could see it by himself and not just rely on whispers from merchants of political intrigues.
Will the Panay Electric Company (PECO) obtain an extension of its franchise for another 25 years now that the ball is on the court of the House of Representatives?
We will know when Iloilo reporters ask President Duterte when visits the Dinagyang Festival next month.
Mr. Duterte’s body language and words about the issue will give answers to all our doubts and worries./WDJ