MANILA - Former Health Secretary Janette Garin said Monday she did not appoint herself to the top position at the Food and Drug Administration, contrary to criticism.
Garin said she "took over" the food and medicine regulator, concurrent to her being health secretary, due to complaints over alleged backlogs in the agency.
Senator Richard Gordon said Garin might have violated the Constitution with her "self-appointment" to the FDA. Gordon is leading an investigation into the use of dengue vaccine's under Garin's watch that is now the subject if a public health scare.
"I did not appoint myself. I took over (in) concurrent capacity dahil ang daming reklamo ng backlog sa FDA. 'Yung mga nasa legal office ang tatagal. 'Yung iba umaabot na ng 10 taon," Garin told ANC.
(I did not appoint myself. I took over in concurrent capacity because there were numerous complaints over backlogs in the FDA. Those in the legal office are slow. Some take 10 years.)
In previous Senate hearings, Garin's 6-month tenure at the FDA was questioned since it happened before the agency approved the use of the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.
"It was not related to my sitting in as FDA Director General. We focused on the backlog in the legal office, the backlog in the processes and systems, 'yung applications," she said.
The government stopped the use of Dengvaxia late last year after its manufacturer, France's Sanofi-Pasteur, said it might cause more severe symptoms of the mosquito-borne disease if given to those who have not had it previously.