“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”
By Alex P. Vidal
As acting secretary of the Department of Health (DOH), we believe that Undersecretary Janette Loreto-Garin can save the Western Visayas Sanitarium (WVS) in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo from being bamboozled by abusive politicians like Iloilo second district Rep. Arcadio “Cadio” Gorriceta.
Technically, Gorriceta, a sycophant of Senate President Franklin Drilon, has no business dipping his fingers into the affairs of Sanitarium.
Weeks after he threatened to yank out Dr. Annabelle De Guzman as WVS chief, Gorriceta got his wishes: De Guzman has been relieved of her position and now reports in the DOH regional office headed by Director Marlyn Convocar.
De Guzman’s fault was she crossed the path of the influential Gorriceta when she and her fellow Sanitarium officials did not agree with the congressman’s recommendation to change the orientation of the WVS’ P25-million hospital ward extension project.
The neophyte solon was insisting that the extension project must take into consideration the P137-million Sta. Barbara-San Miguel access road project and the presence of an ongoing residential project.
De Guzman stood her ground and argued that the ward extension has been approved by the DOH central office and that WVS is just the implementer.
De Guzman’s recalcitrance did not sit well with the powerful congressman from Pavia, Iloilo who reportedly blew his top and vowed to show the Sanitarium chief who’s the boss.
De Guzman’s “ouster” from Sanitarium was followed suit by a series of controversial revamps.
The first to be axed was Elmer Herrera Jr., WVS administrative officer, who was reassigned to the Supply Section.
Herrera was replaced by Diomedes Punsalan of the DOH-6 regional office.
Part of Herrera’s task is now to make an inventory of all the WVS supplies and equipment.
Herrera’s transfer is effective on October 24, 2014 until November 24, 2014.
The Daily Guardian reported November 3 that in a letter to Convocar dated October 27, 2014, Herrera likened his transfer to constructive dismissal as his new assignment is actually under his supervision.
“Citing the revised organization structure and staffing standards for government hospitals, Herrera pointed out that he is the highest ranking official in the hospital operations and patient support service with an equivalent rank of division head,” the Daily Guardian reported.
Although his hands are invisible in the ongoing Sanitarium revamp, observers believe Gorriceta may have something to do with what is going on in the reassignment of WVS officials.
Loreto-Garin can actually revert back the assignments of concerned officials to a status quo.
Reassignments are normal both in private and government offices.
But they should not be tainted with suspicions of political arm-twisting tactics employed by abusive politicians who want to force something to the throats of lowly regional-level officials.
In the first place, Gorriceta is supposed to enact laws in the legislative branch.
He is not supposed to interfere with the projects implemented by the executive branch. Unless Gorriceta wants to favor certain contractors who are willing to share a big chunk of the project pie.
At this point, only acting DOH Secretary Loreto-Garin can clip the wings of Gorriceta and save the Sanitarium from the ruins of dirty politicians.
Loreto-Garin has the power to institute whatever reforms in the DOH, not a politician like Gorriceta.