Saturday, March 17, 2018
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7 DOH execs sue consultant for libel

Department of Health officials led by Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo (left) file a libel case against former health consultant Francis Cruz who claimed there is a “mafia-like” ring at the DOH.—MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

On the heels of similar charges lodged by their colleagues earlier this week, seven officials of the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday also filed a libel suit against former health consultant Francisco Cruz for accusing them of being part of a corrupt “mafia-like” ring in the department.

Malicious statements

In a 23-page charge sheet filed in the Office of the City Prosecutor in Manila, the complainants said they were “maligned, dishonored and discredited by the malicious statements and imputations by Cruz.


The complainants were Health Undersecretaries Maria Carolina Vidal-Taiño, Gerardo Bayugo and Lilibeth David; Assistant Health Secretary Nestor Santiago; Financial and Management Service director Laureano Cruz; Disease Prevention and Control Bureau director Maria Joyce Ducusin; and Health Promotion and Communication Service director Mar Wynn Bello.

Saying they were “persons of unsullied integrity,” the complainants said Cruz’s statements “caused them mental anguish, serious anxiety, moral shock and social humiliation.”

Third libel complaint

This is the third libel complaint filed against Cruz, who claimed in an interview that 18 health officials, including former Secretary Janet Garin, profited from some of the department’s big-ticket projects.

Cruz, also a consultant to the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption on the Dengvaxia controversy, alleged that these officials colluded with the Aquino administration over the P3.5-billion purchase of the dengue vaccine from pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur.

Similar complaints have been filed against Cruz over his remarks, first by Philippine Children’s Medical Center director Julius Lecciones and then by Assistant Health Secretary Lyndon Lee-Suy.

In a brief interview with reporters, Bello stressed that there was no truth to Cruz’s statements.

“Maybe he just wants to get famous. Maybe he is gunning for public office,” Bello said.


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