CA rejects Ubial as DOH secretary

MANILA — The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Tuesday rejected the confirmation of Paulyn Ubial as Secretary of the Department of Health (DOH) after three hearings.

Senator Gringo Honasan, chair of the CA committee on health, said that the committee reached “a difficult decision” after scrutinizing voluminous documents and hearing the testimonies of the appointee and the oppositors.

The decision was reached in an executive session.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said that there was a motion to disapprove the ad interim appointment of Ubial as Health Secretary and there were no objections.

“The motion to disapprove the ad interim appointment of Ms. Paulyn G. Ubial as Secretary of the Department of Health is hereby approved,” Pimentel said.

Ubial was not present when the decision on her confirmation was announced.

During the third and last hearing on her confirmation, there were two new oppositors who spoke against Ubial namely former PhilHealth officer-in-charge Dr. Hildegardes Dineros and a certain Ma. Fe Francisco.

Dineros said he did not resign from PhilHealth as Ubial earlier claimed but that the Secretary actually plotted his ouster.

Francisco, who represented PhilHealth employees, claimed that Ubial abused authority and that employees even wanted to file an opposition versus the Secretary but was afraid to do so.

Ubial, however, insisted that Dineros resigned and that there were board members ready to submit a statement of confirmation on what happened in the board meeting.

Aside from Ubial, other cabinet secretaries who were rejected by the CA include former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, and Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr.

In an interview with reporters, Honasan said that the decision was reached based on a “collegial and individual judgment call.”

“Many issues were raised, too many to mention. During the conduct of hearings, individual and collective judgment call — that’s what we did. It’s a process which must be respected,” Honasan said.