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It’s final; Ona quits

/ 05:06 PM December 19, 2014

MANILA, Philippines — Malacanang on Friday confirmed the resignation of Secretary Enrique Ona as head of the Department of Health (DOH).

“Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., informed Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona that the President has accepted his resignation effective today,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement.

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Coloma did not mention why Ona resigned. However, there have been earlier reports stating that Ona has already submitted his resignation letter to President Benigno Aquino III who asked him to explain the alleged anomalous purchase of vaccines by the DOH.

Malacanang repeatedly denied such reports, saying they did not have information on the matter.

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Ona  reportedly asked for a month-long leave after Aquino asked him to explain his decision to purchase P800 million worth of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 10 (PCV 10), which is cheaper than the World Health Organization-recommended PCV 13.

The said transaction is also being investigated by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) although Ona denied that there was any wrongdoing.

Earlier this week, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that boxes filled with Ona’s belongings were being transferred from his office to his home, bolstering rumors that he has already resigned.

During his trip to South Korea last week, Aquino said Ona was still being made to answer “three or four” more issues.

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Department of Health, DoH, Enrique Ona, Malacañang
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