Sisihin si Garin! Ubial claims CA rejection due to Dengvaxia pressure
By: Xave Gregorio
Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial believes that she was rejected by the powerful Commission on Appointments because she made a stand against procuring more units of the Dengvaxia vaccine.
Ubial said she was pressured by two solons to further expand the anti-dengue vaccination program during the budget deliberations for the Department of Health (DOH).
“My appointment was prejudiced,” Ubial said.
One of the legislators in the lower house who allegedly pressured her to buy more vaccines is Iloilo 1st District Rep. Oscar Garin Jr., the husband of former Health Secretary Janette Garin, who is implicated in the Dengvaxia mess.
Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia also allegedly pressured Ubial during the budget hearings and supposedly grilled her for an hour on the expansion of the vaccination program.
However, both Iloilo’s Garin and Garcia are not members of the Commission on Appointments.
DOH’s Garin also said they cannot exercise influence over the Commission on Appointments.
“Sino po ba kami para impluwensyahan ang commission on appointments?” former Health Secretary Garin said. “It’s an independent body that should not be dragged to the Department of Health.”
She also dismissed Ubial’s claims of pressures from legislators and said lawmakers are only looking after their constituents.
The Commission on Appointments rejected Ubial’s appointment in October with 13 members voting to pluck her from the Duterte cabinet.
The Senate is probing Aquino and his health and budget officials over the P3 billion Dengvaxia purchase which was distributed to at least 830,000 students before manufacturer Sanofi said it causes severe dengue among individuals who have not contracted the disease.