MANILA, Philippines – After being passed over by the Commission on Appointments (CA) for his post as Secretary of Health, Teodoro “Ted” Herbosa skipped the Department of Health (DOH) budget hearing on Thursday.
This did not escape the attention of Senator Francis Tolentino, who is also a member of the CA that bypassed Herbosa.
“Who is in administrative charge?” Tolentino, said during the Senate Finance Committee hearing on the proposed 2024 budget of the Department of Health amounting to P311.3 billion.
“Who will pick up the baton in defending the budget of this great department? You don’t have a secretary here,” he added.
“Is there an acting secretary, a responsible official who will be responsible for this budget presentation?”
Senator Pia Cayetano, however, noted that the DOH is not “headless” during the hearing.
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“Di naman sila headless (they are not headless), Venerable. Actually, all the senior members of the team approached me a while ago and they recognize that it is of course a bit of a difficult situation,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano noted the presence of Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, who served as DOH officer in charge; as well as Undersecretary of Health Lilibeth David, the DOH’s top undersecretary.
“I am confident that they will be able to provide an answer today,” she said.