DOH stands by officials ordered suspended by Ombudsman
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday stood by the integrity of five of its officials who were placed under preventive suspension due to the late release of benefits of healthcare workers, as well as the anomalous purchase of personal protective equipment (PPEs) for the COVID-19 medial frontliners.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they were “saddened” by the order of the Office of the Ombudsman that placed the officials under six-month suspension without pay.
She pointed out that the DOH executives play a crucial role in their COVID-19 pandemic response.
“We are supporting our five officials. These officials had been with us for decades already. Nagbigay na po sila ng ganitong sakripisyo at commitment. At integrity-wise, sila po ay mapagkakatiwalaan,” Vergeire told reporters in an online briefing.
“Ang aming hiling lang po ay sana mapabilis ang kasong ito para po makapabalik na sa dati nilang trabaho ang ating mga officials because in this time of pandemic, kailangang kailangan po namin ang mga tao namin,” she added.
“These five people are playing critical roles in our response to this pandemic,” she went on.
Undersecretary Roger Tong-An, Assistant Secretaries Kenneth Ronquillo and Maylene Beltran, Administrative Services Director Laureano Cruz, and Personnel Services Director Esperanza Carating were suspended to prevent them from influencing or interfering in the ongoing investigation on the issue.
“But (this) doesn’t mean that they are already penalized,” Vergeire said.
Nonetheless, the DOH spokesperson assured that the agency will comply with the probe to ensure its swift resolution.
The Ombudsman launched the investigation last June in connection with the “irregularities and anomalies” in responding to the global health crisis.
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