Ex-president Aquino to attend probe on alleged poll offense over Dengvaxia

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 4) — Former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is attending the investigation of his alleged election offense for implementing the dengue vaccine program. 

A source close to Aquino told CNN Philippines the former president will cooperate with the Commission on Election's (COMELEC) investigation, as he has done in other probes on the Dengvaxia vaccine.

The COMELEC on February 19 issued a subpoena for Aquino, former Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad, and former Health Secretary Janette Garin to submit their counter-affidavits and appear before the poll body during the preliminary probe on March 15.

This stems from the complaints filed by Dr. Francis Cruz and Dr. Clarito Cairo Jr., where they accused Aquino, Abad and Garin of violating Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, as they supposedly approved the vaccination program within the 45-day election ban before the 2016 polls.

Current and former officials of the Department of Health, as well as several Jane and John Does, were also named in the complaint.

"Failure to comply with the subpoena will be considered as waiver of your right to present your defense and the case shall be considered submitted for resolution based on the evidence on record," the subpoena stated.

CNN Philippines' timeline shows the Budget Department issued a P3.5-billion Special Allotment Release Order to Garin's office to purchase the vaccines on December 29, 2015.

On January 21, 2016, the Philippine Children's Medical Center (PCMC) made a P?3-billion purchase order for the vaccines.

On March 8, 2016, Garin issued a P3-billion disbursement voucher to the PCMC to fund the purchase of the vaccines. A day after, the PCMC issued its purchase order to Zuellig Pharma, the distributor of Dengvaxia.

The controversial dengue program then rolled out on April 4, 2016, only a few weeks before the May 2016 elections. More than 800,000 children were administered the controversial dengue vaccine in Metro Manila, Region 3, and Region 4.

TIMELINE: The Dengvaxia controversy

CNN Philippines senior correspondent Ina Andolong, and senior digital producer Pia Garcia contributed to this report.