Aquino yet to appoint new DOH head, Ona replacement
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Saturday said President Benigno Aquino III has yet to appoint a new head for the Department of Health (DOH) after Secretary Enrique Ona resigned.
“The President has not yet decided on who to appoint (as) the successor to Secretary Ike Ona,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during a press briefing.
Lacierda said Undersecretary Janette Garin will remain acting secretary in the meantime.
On Friday, Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. announced that the President accepted Ona’s resignation. He did not mention why the official decided to resign though he was earlier made to explain his decision to purchase P800-million worth of pneumococcal vaccine 10 (PCV 10).
Lacierda said they still do not have information on why Ona resigned and why Aquino accepted it.
“What we were told and as mentioned by Secretary (Sonny) Coloma yesterday is that the Executive Secretary informed Secretary Ike Ona of the President’s acceptance of his resignation. Other than that statement, we have no information anymore,” he explained.
More than a month ago, reports said Ona went on leave because of health reasons. However, it was later revealed that he asked for an opportunity to explain his side on the issue.
Lacierda said Aquino is still assessing Ona’s report on the transaction, which the National Bureau of Investigation is already looking into.
“The President is still assessing the report. As (the President) mentioned also in Busan, there are other areas that we are looking into,” he said.
Justice Secretary Leila De Lima earlier said that while the PCV 10 was cheaper, the PCV 13 was the one recommended by the World Health Organization. Ona denied the claim and said that there was no anomaly in the purchase of the vaccines.
Lacierda assured the public that the DOH will continue its ongoing projects with Garin overseeing the operations.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.