MANILA (Mabuhay) – Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin will continue to run the Department of Health following President Benigno Aquino III’s acceptance of Secretary Enrique Ona’s resignation, a Malacañang spokesman said Saturday morning.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said, “Wala pa po, the president has not yet decided on who to appoint the successor to Sec. Ona. Ang mangyayari status quo muna, Undersecretary Garin will be the acting secretary of health until any permanent appointment has been announced,” he said on government-run dzRB radio.
On the other hand, Lacierda said he has not been informed of why Aquino accepted Ona’s resignation.
“We do not have any information in that regard,” he said, adding that other than what Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Friday, “we have no information anymore.”
The National Bureau of Investigation is investigating why the DOH under Ona bought the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine 10 (PVC-10) instead of the reportedly more cost-effective PCV-13 two years ago.
Ona had said purchasing the PCV-10 actually resulted in savings for the government.
Aquino earlier admitted that he asked Ona to go on leave to explain the alleged irregularities in the procurement of the PV-1O vaccines.
Ona initially said he went on medical leave due to “personal” reasons, including an allergic reaction to a hair dye he used.
When asked if Aquino was satisfied with Ona’s explanation on the supposedly questionable purchase of vaccines, Lacierda said Aquino “is still assessing the report.”
“It’s a matter between the President and Sec. Ona,” he said.
In the meantime, he said the public can “rest assured” the DOH will continue its ongoing projects.
“Acting Sec. Garin has been tasked to oversee ongoing projects and operations of the DOH,” he said. (MNS)