EDITORIAL| Please stop the Senate probe

AN AVERAGE senator will earn about P1.4 million in salary and allowances each month, as revealed by the late Miriam Defensor-Santiago. That’s not counting the operational expenses, as well as the cost of the salaries of his or her staff and “consultants.”

 So we can agree that the legislature costs taxpayers plenty of money.

 Now here comes Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito announcing that he will open an investigation into the dengue vaccine scandal that pins the blame not just on former health secretary Janette Garin but former president Benigno Aquino Jr. as well.

 The speed with which Dengvaxia, the first anti-dengue vaccine in the world, was procured and administered to school kids led some to believe that the deal was meant to boost the war chest of the administration candidates for the 2016 elections.

 The problem was that clinical trials were not yet finished, which would have determined if the drug is 100% safe. The administration could not even wait for the go-signal from the World Health Organization before proceeding with its mass inoculation campaign.

 More than 700,000 kids were immunized, the reports said. However, about 30% of those are actually at risk because that’s the estimated number of children who have not been exposed to dengue prior to getting Dengvaxia.

 The Department of Budget approved the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) worth P3.5 billion for the anti-dengue program. The task of the National Bureau of Investigation now is to find who benefited from the deal, if any.

 If the accusation that the dengue program was rushed to help raise money for campaign funds, that’s a serious charge and somebody should pay.

 But please, let’s stop the Senate investigation. It does nothing but waste taxpayer’s money and build up the political capital of the incumbent legislators. Remember, senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Bam Aquino, Cynthia Villar and Grace Poe are eligible for reelection on a second term in the 2019 elections.

 The Department of Justice already endorsed the matter to the NBI. Let the investigators do their job. Let’s stop the politics. It’s what got us in this mess in the first place.

Posted in Opinion