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Reassignment of NCMH exec not related to COVID-19 'exposé' -DOH official


The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said the reassignment of National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) chief administrative officer Dr. Clarita Avila  has nothing to do with her exposé on the COVID-19 situation in the facility.

In a phone interview, Health Undersecretary Roger Tong-an said based on the letter by NCMH chief Dr. Roland Cortez requesting the transfer, Avila is accused of several "violations."

"Maraming violations na cinite si Dr. Roland dito and it's not about the COVID. It's about disrupting the center's efforts towards refinement and reforms and deliberate disobedience of civil service directives," he told GMA News Online.

Avila had claimed that she was reassigned to Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Las Piñas after she spoke about the coronavirus situation in NCMH.

"I received the order of reassignment on April 14, 2020," she said in a text message to GMA News Online.

Asked for the reason on why she was reassigned, Avila said: "Because of my exposé made to media about the gag order issued to me by Dr. [Roland] Cortez and my exposé about what's happening inside the NCMH."

The hospital order dated April 13  and signed by Cortez states that Avila has to assist the officer-in-charge of the Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in "managing and making the said facility operational."

The Department Personnel Order from the Department of Health, on the other hand, was dated March 9 and was signed by Tong-an.

Avila explained that this order from the DOH was antedated and was received by the NCMH on April 13.

Asked why the DOH's order was only received by NCMH on April 13, Tong-an said there were some fact-finding activities that had been conducted prior.

"There [were] some investigations muna, pumunta pa ito sa health facility, hospital operations so 'yun ang nangyari. Ni-refer pa namin," he said.

GMA News Online has also reached out to the NCMH for its comments on the matter, but it has yet to reply as of posting time. --KBK, GMA News

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