Ubial denies traveling with son as secretary

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 12 2017 09:37 AM | Updated as of Oct 12 2017 11:20 AM

MANILA - Former Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial on Thursday said she never traveled with her son during her term as a Cabinet member, contrary to the allegation raised during her confirmation hearing.

"That’s not true. My son’s passport expired in 2015 and he never renewed it because he was going into medicine by 2016," she told ANC's Headstart.

"Actually, there were several trips that my son went with me, but I was assistant secretary at that time. That was, I can remember, China in 2010 and New York, Bloomberg meeting, in 2015. That’s all," she said.

During a confirmation hearing by the Commission on Appointments earlier this month, Ubial was questioned on her official travels where her son, Karl, tagged along.

She confirmed the trips then, but told lawmakers that she shouldered all the expenses.

In the interview, Ubial said she wanted to clear up the issue during the hearing but felt any explanation would be "useless" because there was a "demolition job" against her.

"The pictures that Senator [Tito] Sotto showed about my foreign travels, it really disheartened me—it was when I was assistant secretary, many of them; not now when I was health secretary," she said.

She admitted some of the trips were with her husband or her son--but never the 3 of them--but said they were only trips around Asia "because I can afford the tickets, and then it was when I was assistant secretary."

"I was very frustrated because I think that was the third time I was facing the CA and all their accusations and issues against me were what they say and not what I did. Were there documents to prove what they said? Nothing," she said.

"I gave them, I submitted to CA all the documents. I have travel authority, I have the authority from the President, and it was all above board, but I don’t know," she added.

Ubial's ad interim appointment as President Rodrigo Duterte's health secretary was rejected on Tuesday.

Ubial has been with the Department of Health for 27 years, serving under 13 secretaries.

She was the fifth among Duterte's Cabinet appointees to be rejected, after the bicameral body disapproved the appointments of Perfect Yasay Jr. (foreign affairs), Gina Lopez (environment), Judy Taguiwalo (social work), and Rafael Mariano (agrarian reform).