‘Politics behind DOH OIC choice’
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - November 7, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A lawmaker sees politics behind Undersecretary Janette Garin’s designation as acting secretary of the Department of Health (DOH).

Alliance of Concerned Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said Garin belongs to a powerful political clan that can shore up support for the Aquino administration in Iloilo.

“Garin has also shown herself to be very adept at dispensing DOH funds, particularly its P3-billion medical assistance program, as congressional pork, being a former congresswoman herself,” he said.

Garin handles the DOH medical assistance program for indigent patients, Tinio said.

The program is funded partly by money realigned from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers before the Supreme Court (SC) struck it down as unconstitutional.

President Aquino said Health Secretary Enrique Ona has requested for a month-long leave to give him time to prepare his answers on the government’s vaccination program.

“He has asked for time to put together answers to my questions, that is why he asked for a leave,” he said.

Aquino said he had raised questions about the program, as there appeared to be “an imbalance between preventive and curative” aspects.

“Whether or not I am satisfied with him will come after the answers we get to my questions on vaccination,” he said.

Ona later confirmed that he indeed wanted to prepare for Aquino’s queries.

He also wanted time to have his hair dye allergy treated, he added.

Speculations are that Ona is on the way out, and that preparing answers regarding the government’s vaccination program was not a sufficient reason for a month-long leave.

ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS REP ANTONIO TINIO AQUINO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH GARIN HEALTH SECRETARY ENRIQUE ONA PRESIDENT AQUINO PRIORITY DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE FUND SUPREME COURT UNDERSECRETARY JANETTE GARIN
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