Roque asks CA to reject Ubial as DOH chief | Inquirer News

Roque asks CA to reject Ubial as DOH chief

/ 08:23 PM May 17, 2017


Health Sec. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial looks at Rep. Harry Roque who is one of the oppositors to her confirmation. Roque cited incompetence, persistent lying to Congress, wastage of government resources and corruption as grounds for this during his presentation at the CA hearing at the Senate. (Photo by LYN RILLON / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque asked the Commission on Appointments on Wednesday to reject Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial’s ad interim appointment as health secretary – citing 101 disapproved appointments, lies, and P3-billion worth of vaccines.

Sen. Gregorio Honasan called for a suspension of the hearing, which lasted for about an hour, to give the CA ample time to process facts and issues and deliberate on her confirmation as health secretary, which is being objected to by at least three members, including Roque.


Initially, a tearful Department of Health (DOH) secretary-designate addressed the CA to acknowledge the commission’s constitutional mandate to scrutinize appointments.


“I have served government since the first day out of college and internship 28 years ago. It is no secret to my colleagues and friends that I have dedicated my professional career and life to the service of the Filipino people,” she said, her voice cracking as she spoke on personal sacrifices she has had to make to serve the country.

“I shall not back down and be disheartened in my commitment to the President and to the Filipino people and to my DOH family. He has placed his confidence and trust in me and I will not fail him nor the Filipino people,” Ubial said, referring to her vow to help in eradicating illegal drugs and corruption and taking care of the poor.

Roque cited four major grounds for his objection to having Ubial confirmed – incompetence, persistent lying to Congress, wastage of government resources, and corruption.

He claimed that Ubial tended to constantly change her statements concerning public health – which would not be good for a health secretary.

“Everything she says in Congress are all excuses… She flipflops on very important public health issues,” Roque said, citing her pronouncements on the Zika virus.

Roque further accused Ubial of attempting to divert P3-billion funds for dengue vaccines to pneumonia vaccines, the orders for which grew in volume and became pricier.


He pointed out that, as assistant secretary and then secretary, Ubial had several employee hires disapproved by the Civil Service Commission because they were illegal appointments with the persons neither qualified nor civil service eligible.

“She has 101 invalidated appointments in the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center,” Roque claimed adding that it was also odd that in one year, there were three presidents at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) which he described as rife with anomalies.

Roque pointed out that Ubial was also targeting the wrong community for her condom distribution program, which aimed to distribute condoms to high school students instead of the gay community.

In response, Ubial denied she had a hand on the decision whether to continue or discontinue the dengue vaccine program.

“The procurement of vaccines undergoes bidding… I cannot shift the allocation for dengue vaccine to another vaccine because that was already procured,” she said. “There was no P2 billion that was not used for dengue vaccine. All the P3 billion allocated for procurement of the dengue vaccine was procured for dengue vaccine.”

She clarified that the 101 invalidated appointments she made were part of damage control when she came in as OIC medical chief of the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center.

Ubial explained that it was her predecessor who made the unauthorized appointments.

“I had to do damage control on invalidated appointments and had to reappoint these people whose appointments were invalidated because they were approved by somebody not designated to approve,” she said.

She added that she did not make decisions on PhilHealth officials, it was instead the board as a collegial body.

She assured that administrative cases of fraud had been filed against unscrupulous PhilHealth personnel with the National Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Ombudsman in pursuit of reforming the agency.

Ubial also explained that the decision to distribute condoms to high school students is part of the medium-term AIDS plan, under improved awareness and safe sex practices among key affected populations, to reduce and reverse the epidemic developed by a panel of experts and approved by the Philippine National AIDS Council.

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She revealed that 62 percent of new HIV/AIDS patients are between 15 years old and 24 years old, and that the distribution of condoms was proposed by the National Youth Commission. /atm

TAGS: Harry Roque

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