Tag Archives: Janette Loreto-Garin

Garin loses bargaining chips with Janette’s appointment

“I don’t wanna talk about things we’ve gone through. Though it’s hurting me, now it’s history. I’ve played all my cards. And that’s what you’ve done, too. Nothing more to say; no more ace to play.” ABBA in “The Winners Takes It All”

By Alex P. Vidal

NOW that Dr. Janette Loreto-Garin has been officially appointed by President Simeon Benigno “Nonoy” Aquino III as secretary of the Department of Health (DOH), father-in-law Oscar “Oca” Garin Sr. loses his political bargaining chips in the 2016 elections.

When Mr. Aquino delayed Loreto-Garin’s appointment (he was supposed to install her after the visit of Pope Francis in January), there were speculations that the president “has changed mind” as he is now notoriously known.

February came and still Loreto-Garin and her fans were anxiously waiting on tenterhooks; her fate wasn’t clear.

The scuttlebutt was the “dark forces” within the department prevailed upon the president to forego with Loreto-Garin’s appointment as DOH chief and retain her as undersecretary.

Lo and behold, Malacanang delivered the coup de grace on March 12 when everyone’s attention was somewhere else: Loreto-Garin is now officially the new full-fledged DOH secretary.

Good news for the Garin clan of Iloilo and the Loreto clan of Leyte.

How about to the older Garin’s political plans in 2016?

Garin Sr., father of Loreto-Garin’s husband, Iloilo first district Rep. Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr., is reportedly planning to run for vice governor of Iloilo in 2016.


It is still unclear though, as of this writing, whether Governor Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. is inclined to accommodate a fellow Liberal Party (LP) stalwart Garin Sr. as Defensor’s runningmate in 2016.

Garin Sr. could have used the delay or rejection of Loreto-Garin’s appointment in the DOH as a bargaining chip to compel Malacanang to consider him as Defensor’s runningmate in 2016 or he will make tampo or sunggod and bolt the party and embrace the opposition owing to the “double whammy” (if Loreto-Garin didn’t bag the DOH’s top portfolio and the nomination as Defensor’s runningmate).

Now that Loreto-Garin’s appointment is moot and academic, Garin Sr. has no more reason to make tampo or sunggod  to Malacanang or to the LP hierarchy.

A political debt of gratitude today could mean a death blow to any ambition for higher posts in the future.

If Garin Sr. can’t clinch LP’s vice gubernatorial slot in Iloilo, he has no more aces in his sleeves to pressure President Aquino and the LP bigwigs.

We have given your daughter-in-law the biggest pork. Leave to us the beans, Malacanang and the LP bosses can always tell Oca Garin straight in the eyes.

After all, beggars can’t be choosers.


THE claim of West Visayas State University (WVSU) professor, Ma. Rosario Victoria E. De Guzman, that some college students, mostly below legal age, are engaging in “survival sex” or prostitution to finish their studies, is not new.

Parents have heard this story in the 80’s and 90’s and even in the early years of the new millennium.

Each time the issue is tackled in the media, school authorities and social scientists almost always blamed the economic dilemma that bedevils the students involved in selling their bodies for sex.

We agree to some extent. There really is a need to seriously address this gnawing problem with the active participation of the parents.

Economic realities force students to perform lewd acts in the internet and sexual services to patrons who take advantage of their plight.

Concerned authorities should trace the problem’s origin at home.

Financial problem may not be the only reason why some young students engage in prostitution.

Many members of the younger generation nowadays are hooked on a lot of vices and even illegal drugs.

They need not only money but attention, as well. Attention from their parents, guardians and guidance counselors; attention from their friends, boyfriends and girlfriends.

In their confusion, some of these young students get the “quickest” and the “most practical” answers to their questions about their sexuality from non-experts or from those outside their homes and schools.

Here’s another catch: Ninety-nine percent of “experts” in the sexual problems of women never had a menstrual period, a hot flash, or a baby—and never will, according to Dr. David Reuben, an expert in human sexuality.

“In fact they will never have any female sexual experiences at all—because they are men,” he added.


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Just DOH it!

“Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations… can never effect a reform.” Susan B. Anthony

By Alex P. Vidal

IN December last year, acting Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin sobbed that she was hurt by the intense politicking and name-calling in the department.

She never mentioned who called someone “bobo” (idiot) and “gaga” (dumb), but the former Iloilo first district solon gave people who saw her TV interview the bird’s eye view on what was going on in the DOH since she assumed as acting secretary, when resigned Secretary Enrique Ona went on leave in November.

She was apparently at loggerheads with some DOH bigwigs loyal to Ona.

At the time of name-calling and apparent rudeness displayed by the male species and spoiled brats in the department, there was no hint that Ona could not anymore get back his post.

Unknown to most outsiders, Loreto-Garin, the most junior undersecretary in the DOH, was being bullied by rapscallions who felt uneasy working under a woman acting secretary, and who feared sweeping reforms once Ona’s vacation would be extended.

Alas, Ona’s resignation was accepted by President Benigno Aquino III before Christmas 2014.

The atmosphere in the DOH completely changed when the president announced he would appoint Loreto-Garin as regular secretary after the Papal Visit this month.


Loreto-Garin’s incoming appointment as regular DOH chief would be a slapped on the faces of those who had earlier predicted she would be relegated back to her old post as undersecretary.

It turned out Loreto-Garin has the trust and confidence of President Aquino and was the president’s apple as Ona’s replacement even before Ona resigned.

In between Loreto-Garin’s anguish from the verbal snipes uncorked by “insecure” DOH underlings and the president’s announcement of her appointment as regular DOH chief was the furor involving hitherto Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag, who had been reportedly “demoted”.

Tayag, known as the dancing doctor, and Ona are among the health officials being investigated for the alleged anomalous DOH purchase of anti-pneumonia vaccines for children.

The probe is being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) as ordered by President Aquino.

Tayag was allegedly the one who ordered the procurement of the PCV-10 instead of the cost-effective PCV-13 for the DOH’s Expanded Vaccination Program.

Although Loreto-Garin did not reveal who were her supposed tormentors, the grapevine said one of them was Tayag.


This was never confirmed by both Loreto-Garin and Tayag but many insiders claimed that both DOH bigwigs “don’t see each other eyeball to eyeball” whatever that means.

“Tayag’s loyalty is still with Ona and Loreto-Garin’s appointment must have sent shivers down his spine and the spines of Tayag’s cohorts,” sources said.

The lady DOH official, wife of Iloilo first district Rep. Oscar “Richard” Garin, Jr., has promised to initiate reforms once she takes over the helm of the DOH as a regular secretary.

She said there were clamors from several officials to fix the DOH organizational structure.

In changing Tayag’s designation, Loreto-Garin clarified that “it was not a demotion because his actual position is really director IV.”

“Sometimes it creates confusion since there are some assistant secretaries who are assistant secretaries by career,” Loreto-Garin said. “We did this with consultation.”

“Doc Tayag was even one of those (directors) who volunteered to me to remove (the title) ASec because he said he was not really an ASec,” Loreto-Garin explained.

It was part of the DOH streamlining, she further said.

Whatever reforms she has in mind for the DOH, Loreto-Garin must do it without fear and favor.

She has the full support of the president and not even the most loquacious and arrogant male underlings can pose as obstacles in her quest to improve the department long bedeviled by anomalies and structural defects.

Just DOH it, Madame Secretary!

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Posted by on January 12, 2015 in HEALTH


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‘It also hurts to be called gaga at bobo’

“An injury is much sooner forgotten than an insult.” Philip Stanhope

By Alex P. Vidal

IF a man occupies the highest position in any organization, he is hailed and praised to high heavens especially by those who have the propensity to ask favors in return for the praises.

If a woman is on top, she is cursed, insulted, ridiculed and underestimated.

To add insult, she is called names.

It’s a male-dominated-world mentality all over again.

The grapevine in the Department of Health (DOH) says acting Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin can’t automatically occupy the post vacated by resigned Secretary Enrique “Ike” Ona.

President Noynoy Aquino is expected to announce the new DOH secretary in January 2015, sources said.

Undersecretary Loreto-Garin, 42, former Iloilo first district House representative, will continue to sit in acting capacity.

Surrounded by high-ranking career employees and subalterns whose loyalty is with Ona and the previous male secretaries, Loreto-Garin initially felt a little bit uneasy especially when President Aquino accepted Ona’s resignation before Christmas Day.

She had revealed earlier that “politics is very dirty” within the department.

“It’s a sad thing. Sa isang taon ko doon, I tried hard to bridge (the gap) with Secretary Ona,” she said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s “The Bottomline with Boy Abunda.”

“I am still trying to absorb the punches and praises. When I was told I would be officer in charge, I thought ‘okay, it would be for a month’… And then one by one issue came out, a lot of problems, a lot of misinformation… There were friendships being challenged,” she said.

“If I’m doing public service, why do I have to experience these punches in my life? Sanay ako sa pulitika, a clean debate. But I was not used to character assassination. Nasasaktan ka rin na tinatawag kang gaga, bobo.”

She did not reveal who made those scurrilous statements.


The former solon had stopped consulting Ona, who was on leave for more than a month due to health reasons.

Ona’s supposed role in the allegedly questionable procurement of vaccines under his leadership worth P800-million is still being investigated by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

It was revealed later on that Ona’s policies and actions did not sit well with Mr. Aquino.

The atmosphere in the DOH is reportedly “patriarchal by nature”, and many senior male underlings find it “uncomfortable” working under “a political appointee with lesser experience.”

Since Dr. Carmencita Reodica, DOH secretary from March 1996  until June 1998, Loreto-Garin is the third female physician to occupy the DOH’s top post but only in acting capacity.

Dr. Esperanza I. Cabral briefly held the DOH portfolio from January until June 2010.

Both Reodica and Cabral came from the private sector did not hold political or elective positions before their DOH stint, while Garin served for three terms as congresswoman.

Reodica had 32 years of experience as a public health worker and government administrator before becoming a DOH boss

Cabral, a renowned cardiologist and top-ranked physician, was a professor at the UP College of Medicine and Pharmacology, scientist and a graduate of Medicine at the University of the Philippines and had served as director of the Philippine Heart Center as well as chief of Cardiology at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center before becoming a DOH chief.


Loreto-Garin started a Iloilo provincial board member and sat as the regional chair of the National Movement for Young Legislators and member of the National Board of the Provincial Board Members League of the Philippines.

She had been elected as the first Filipino board member of the nine-man executive board of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank (PNoWB) when she became a member of the House of Representatives in 2004.

She had served as House deputy majority leader and figured in the curbing of fraud in the Philhealth, amendment of the Physician’s Act, and the Cheaper Medicines Bill.

Loreto-Garin was among those who advocated the pushed for the passage of the Reproductive Health Care Bill, Improved Midwifery Bill and the Magna Carta for Women.

She may not be the best DOH secretary (acting or permanent), but we beg to disagree with her detractors that she is gaga and bobo.

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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in HEALTH


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Better to have Ebola virus than to be caught stealing

“Dignity is not negotiable. Dignity is the honor of the family.” Vartan Gregorian

By Alex P. Vidal

SOME people may avoid us if we are infected with Ebola virus, but will sympathize with us nonetheless for humanitarian reasons.
If we are thieves, people will not only avoid us but will also denounce us, stab us in the back and question our culture.
Between having an Ebola disease and being a thief, we prefer the former.
Much better, of course, if we don’t have any contagious disease and with zero criminal record.
Some of us prefer to die of Ebola or others diseases than to live with a tarnished name because of graft and corruption.
In death, there is dignity if our integrity is intact.
In life, we die a thousand times once our dignity has been besmirched by dishonesty and crimes against moral turpitude.
It’s better to suffer instant death than to continue living and pretending as if everything is normal even after we were caught in flagrante delicto with our hands in the cookie jar.
Acting Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin should not begrudge critics who expressed “worries” when she and Armed Forces chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang went to Caballo Island to visit quarantined Filipino peacekeepers, who arrived from Ebola-hit Nigeria early this month, without wearing protective masks as required by the World Health Organization (WHO).


If we were Loreto-Garin, we would gamely accept the criticisms without showing any emotion, and prove those Doubting Thomases wrong.
How? Assure them that if she shows some signs of Ebola infection, she would resign immediately and isolate herself for medication before going to an exile in an island.
Loreto-Garin, 42, should also prove to all and sundry that she is not a corrupt public official; and it’s OK to die anytime as long as her name and the legacy of the Loretos of Leyte and the Garins of Iloilo are preserved and not tainted.
Meanwhile, when she attended the senate budget deliberations on November 24, Loreto-Garin was not treated shabbily.
In fact, Senators Bongbong Marcos and Bambam Aquino kissed her and shook her hand.
It was Senator Tito Sotto III who first expressed alarm and even requested Loreto-Garin, Catapang and others who went with them in the island to undergo quarantine.
He was among the senators who refused to come near Loreto-Garin during the budget hearing.


Loreto-Garin appeared panicky in her initial reactions when the unprotected visit tumult erupted last week: “I am not perfect. I might have lapses. But in critical situations like this, I will not do it without proper protocol on the proper guidance of the experts.”
She added: “People were asking, why not wait for the 21st day. If you wait for the 21st day, the decisions needed that time cannot be made.”
The DOH has repeatedly announced that Ebola virus is not contagious unless an infected person showed symptoms.
The peacekeepers on Caballo Island have been cleared of the virus and are just undergoing quarantine as part of protocol.
The symptoms of Ebola include fever, muscle pain, headache and sore throat followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash and in some cases internal and external bleeding, reported the WHO.

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Posted by on December 3, 2014 in HEALTH


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