Aquino picks Garin as permanent DOH chief

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III announced  that he would be appointing Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin in a permanent capacity, filling in the vacancy left by Enrique Ona in December last year.

Aquino made the announcement in a media interview on Friday, January 9, in Romblon where he was inspecting a provincial hospital. Garin was present.

"I am very satisfied with Secretary Garin. We will be putting in another undersecretary to help her. Of course this is subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments," Aquino said, when asked whether he had chosen a new health chief.

Ona left his post on December 19, after Aquino accepted his resignation.

Ona was earlier on leave after the President asked him to take time off to prepare his answers to questions on the government's vaccination campaign, and the balance between preventive and curative aspects of public health.

Aquino appeared dissatisfied with Ona’s explanations, forcing Ona to take an extended leave before eventually quitting.

Asked whether he would still meet with Ona regarding the vaccination issue, Aquino said in Romblon: "Of course I’ll talk to him. But I am still awaiting the completion of all of the investigations that he has done so that there will be point in our discussion; there's a conclusion."

Rappler sources had earlier cited 5 candidates considered for the vacated post, including Garin, indicating that she was not a shoo-in for the position.

The other candidates are former health secretaries and a former classmate of the President, some of whom had already been interviewed, the sources had said. – Rappler.com