What might have been had Noynoy Aquino been Impeached in 2015.
Back in 2015, nobody knew of the human drama and tragedy that was about to unfold involving some 800,000 school children and their families and of the waste of some 3.5 Billion pesos worth of taxpayer’s money. I am of course, referring to the Dengvaxia controversy.
(Source: CNN Philippines)
Well documented are the meetings President Aquino and his Cabinet secretaries had with Sanofi, makers of the vaccine. It is also clear as day that regardless of the merits of the Dengvaxia vaccine, its procurement was railroaded and implemented in record time. The whole purchase reeks of irregularity and of an administration drunk with impunity.
The timeline for this purchase was around November 2014, when the first meeting between President Aquino and Sanofi executives took place in China. Within the year, Sanofi arranged to have the drug included in the Philippine National Formulary even if it had not undergone sufficient testing. Then, in a blitz on December 2015, Aquino and DOH Secretary Janette Garin met with Sanofi official, submitted a proposal to the DBM for its purchase and licensed the drug as a Dengue Vaccine for “all types of Individuals from 9-45 years old living in high-risk areas.”
It is simply chilling and mind-boggling to learn that this tragedy was very nearly avoided.
We recall back in July of 2014, there was a move to impeach then President Noynoy Aquino over the Disbursement Allocation Plan (DAP) controversy. Three complaints, one filed by Oliver Lozano, another filed by Buboy Syjuco and another filed by Neri Colmenares. The impeachment complaint was unsurprisingly thrown out in September of that year by the highly sympathetic House of Representatives. Had the impeachment succeeded in gaining traction, the impeachment may very well have prevented the tragedy that was to become Dengvaxia. Worse may have been that the failure of the impeachment may have further emboldened Aquino, who, unsurprisingly, used the same DAP playbook in raising the funds for Dengvaxia.
(A news report from that time)
Some have argued that the same would have been a waste of time, as it was already the twilight of Benigno Aquino III’s administration. We could weather whatever incompetence and “Noynoying” that was about to come right? Political stability was the more important concern back then.
Let us mull the irony of this argument for a moment.
Of course, one shouldn’t impeach an official on the basis of preventing something he/she might do just as much as one shouldn’t withhold impeachment on the argument that his/her term is about to end. We punish an official on the basis of what he/she has done and not on the basis of damage potential.
To Impeach or not to Impeach
The takeaway is this: It is never too late in the day to impeach an official. Once that person has committed an impeachable offense, it is time to let him go, regardless of the damage he might or might not do.