Palace regrets Ubial rejection by CA

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

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

Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial failed to convince the Commission on Appointments (CA) as the powerful body yesterday voted to reject her ad interim appointment to the Department of Health (DoH).

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

Sen. Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan II, CA Health panel chair, said the committee reviewed voluminous documents and heard the testimony of Ubial before it reached a "difficult decision".

"We had a short discussion with some members making statements for and against. We can not zero in on any single complaint", Honasan said. Four individuals opposed Ubial's appointment: Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque; lawyer Restituto Mendoza; Potenciano Malvar, medical director of the General Miguel M. Malvar Medical Foundation; and Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

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Hs also accused Ubial, as PhilHealth chairperson, of controlling internal affairs for her own benefit.

Ubial is the fifth Cabinet official appointed by President Duterte to be rejected by the CA, and the eighth to leave the Cabinet. "It's a process which must be respected", Honasan said.

According to Honasan, Ubial's "achievements" were outweighed by the issues raised by oppositors, including her many foreign travels, accompanied in some instances, by members of her family.

Dineros said he did not resign from PhilHealth as Ubial earlier claimed but that the Secretary actually plotted his ouster. "She lied. I was ousted upon the instigation by the chairman of the board, Secretary Ubial", said Dineros.

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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. She was among 150 PhilHealth employees who signed a manifesto against Ubial.

He said there were 13 votes to "withhold consent to the ad interim of Ubial". "When God closes a door he opens a window", she told The Manila Times.

Ubial was DOH assistant secretary for health regulations when President Rodrigo Duterte picked her to run the department in 2016.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella expressed regret, saying the government was grateful for her service.

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