MANILA—The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday deferred the confirmation of Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial to allow two more oppositors to air their sentiments against her confirmation.
Ubial, who is aware that she had oppositors, remains hopeful that she would be confirmed and vowed to lead the Department of Health (DOH) the best way she can.
“Rest assured that the DOH will be an agency that practices full transparency and proficiency. We will accomplish to the best we can to fulfill the department’s mandate. I respectfully submit myself and my desire to be confirmed by this honorable body,” Ubial said in her opening statement.
“I shall not back down nor be disheartened in my commitment to the President and to the Filipino people and my DOH family. He has placed his trust and confidence in me and I will not fail him,” she added.
There have been three individuals who have expressed opposition against Ubial’s confirmation — Kabayan Partylist Rep. Harry Roque and ACTS OFW Partylist Rep. Aniceto Bertiz and lawyer Restituto Mendoza.
Roque, the first to present his opposition, cited “incompetence, lying, waste of government resources, corruption” among others as reasons to oppose her confirmation.
He claimed that Ubial could not be trusted since she previously lied about the Philippines being “Zika-free” in September 2016. However, two days later, the congressman said that she was contradicted by her undersecretaries.
The congressman also claimed that Ubial was involved in corrupt practices for disallowing the implementation of dengue vaccines and for reported fraud within the PhilHealth, the Department of Health’s attached agency.
Ubial, for her part, explained that she was not contradicted by her undersecretaries. In fact, she said that it was she who instructed them to clarify her earlier statement after new Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) results were released.
She also said that it was not she who ordered the stop of dengue vaccine implementation but an “expert panel.”
“I was the one who instructed my asst. Dr. Eric Tayag and Gerardo Bayugo two days after when the RITM results came out,” Ubial said.
“It is not the Secretary of Health that decides on whether to continue or not, there was an expert panel created in July and their recommendation was not to expand to other areas the immunization of the dengue vaccine so that was what I told congress and the media,” she added.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, for his part, clarified that oppositions were not filed due to Reproductive Health (RH) law.
He also clarified that although he was previously against the RH bill, he supported it after it was amended to remove abortion, abortifacients among others.