Ubial claims solon ‘pressured’ her to expand Dengvaxia coverage
By Azer Parrocha
MANILA (Philippines News Agency)– Former Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial on Thursday claimed that a congressman “pressured” her to expand the government’s dengue vaccine program despite her opposition to it.
Ubial, during the Senate Blue Ribbon probe into the controversial Dengvaxia dengue vaccine, said that it was Iloilo Rep. Oscar Garin Jr.
The lawmaker is also the husband of Janette Garin, then Health Secretary during the Aquino administration. It was during her term when the dengue vaccines were purchased in 2015.
“I was pressured to expand to other areas,” Ubial said noting that this happened during a congressional budget hearing last August 14, 2017 and could even be proven in the minutes.
“One of the representatives that asked me to buy more dengue vaccine and put it in the 2018 budget is no other than Oscar Richard Garin Jr.,” she added.
Ubial said that she believed her opposition to the vaccine prejudiced her confirmation as health secretary.
It may be recalled that Garin’s confirmation was rejected by the Commission on Appointments (CA) last October.
“My confirmation as Secretary of Health, the DOH budget was being put at stake. It was very blatant in Congress. You get the tape recording of how they shouted at me, how they tried to blackmail me,” Ubial told reporters in an interview.
Garin, however, said that she respected the Ubial’s personal views but noted that her husband was not a member of the CA.
“My point here is the documents speak for itself. It’s not pressure, it’s not forced and we have nothing to do with the Commission on Appointments,” Garin said. (PNA)