Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin got emotional during her interpellation on the proposed budget of the Department of Justice (DOJ) for 2021, as she remembered the late Heath Assistant Secretary Lyndon Lee Suy, one of her former colleagues in the Department of Health (DOH) who were “maligned and demonized” by anti-vaxxers over the Dengvaxia controversy.

GARIN - Garin remembers deceased colleague who had been demonized by PAO during Dengvaxia scandal
Iloilo 1st District Rep. and former Department of Health (DOH) secretary Janette Garin (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“We lost a superman without a cape. I am really sorry for being emotional but in this time of pandemic. If he was here, this would not have happened. Isa lang po ito sa pinatay ng mga pekeng eksperto. (He is one of those killed by the fake experts),”  the former Department of Health secretary told the House plenary. 

The emotional Garin presented a four-minute video prepared by the DOH family to pay tribute to the contributions of Lee Suy, an infectious disease specialist who was “on  top of the situation” and  helped strengthen the country’s readiness to fight  MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), and Ebola.

“I am a politician, I am a doctor, I can take it. But, please stop maligning and demonizing our experts at our RITM, the people in the FDA and the DOH family,” she said. 

She expressed hope that the DOJ “will look and possibly put a stop into all this circus that is being done” by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), even as she questioned the continued autopsies being conducted by PAO amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nakakalungkot po nito, panahon ng pandemya, walang katapusang autopsy ang ginagawa (It is saddening that in this time of pandemic, they have been conducting continuous autopsies) and I am standing up not because I am an accused in this case but moreover because somebody has to stand up and stop these autopsies in the middle of the pandemic,” Garin said.

She maintained that PAO is “bereft with unqualified experts,” apparently taking a swipe at PAO forensics chief Dr. Erwin Erfe.

“Filming these autopsies is highly irregular among us doctors. Second, we have to respect the mortal remains of the patient. Third, we cannot parade organs with dripping blood because COVID is here and when the vaccine comes next year and people will not have themselves vaccinated then all the efforts of our government will be put to waste simply because the PAO has a consultant that they are painting as an expert, when in fact he is a fake expert and all over the world, that institution is a fly by night institution,” the House Deputy Minority Leader said.

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