Who will be the next DOH chief? Palace: Aquino still focused on preps for Pope Francis
MANILA, Philippines – Who will be the next Health chief?
For now, Malacañang said President Benigno Aquino III is in no rush to look for the one who will replace former health secretary Enrique Ona who quit his post last December.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that Aquino is focused on the security preparations being laid out for Pope Francis’ visit to the country from January 15 to 19.
“Wala kaming advisory or information from the Office of the President kung sino ang papalit dahil, as you know, parating ang ating Santo Papa. So we’re a bit focused on the security preparations and the preparations for the arrival of Pope Francis,” Lacierda said in a press briefing on Wednesday.
(We have no advisory or information from the Office of the President regarding who will replace (Ona). As you know, the Pope will be arriving soon. So we’re a bit focused on the security preparations and the preparations for the arrival of Pope Francis.)
He also commended acting health secretary Janette Garin for her performance, saying that the Department of Health’s operations have not been derailed with the absence of a permanent secretary.
“Acting Secretary Janette Garin is on top of the agency, so gumagalaw naman po. The services provided for the by DOH are not being—are not held in a standstill by reason of the lack of a permanent secretary,” Lacierda added.
Ona was asked to take a leave by Aquino last October to explain the allegedly questionable purchase of antipneumonia vaccines by DOH. More than a month later, the embattled former secretary filed his resignation, which was accepted by Aquino on December 19.
Garin, a member of the Aquino’s Liberal Party and former Iloilo representative, took the helm of DOH since Ona filed his leave and his subsequent resignation.