MAGANES: Public service above law?

November 12, 2011 at 12:14 am Leave a comment

The townspeople of Rosales are not aware that since 2007, the Rural Health Unit (RHU) of the town was operating illegally as a hospital. It was not known not until October 14, 2011 when the Department of Health (DOH) -Center for Health Development (CHD) of Region I conducted. monitoring of RHU laboratories. To the surprise of the monitoring and licensing team, Rosales’ RHU was operating not only as a center for preventive medical services but as a hospital.

The findings prompted the DOH-CHD to issue a cease and desist order for the RHU to operate as a hospital since it is in violation of the Hospital Act or Republic Act No. 4226. It took. 4 years for the said agency to discover the illegal operations of the RHU which has already been providing medical services to the townspeople of Rosales such as general medicine, general pediatrics, general surgery and general obstetrics and gynecology. The RHU has been equipped with medical equipment and instruments for the said services.

What happened to Rosales is an eye opener to other local town executives. The mayors, although wanting to provide services to the people, they are still governed by laws, rules and regulations. There’s a tug of war between the desire to extend service and the statutes that govern the same.

Mayor Ricardo V. Revita could be commended for such action of giving medical services to his townmates. However, he has to abide with the existing laws of the land. No man is above the law. The laws have been crafted to protect the right of the people as well as to invoke proper order, and in this case on medical services.

What would have been the liability of the local government unit of Rosales if during those years, the operations of the RHU as hospital have discovered medical malpractice? What could have been the sanctions imposed by the DOH-CHD) on such cases?

DOH-CHD, for a fact has also slept on its job. Why did it take them that long to monitor the illegal operations of the RHU? If they could have done it earlier, Rosales administration could have done immediate actions such that requesting from the said agency to accredit the RHU as a first level hospital.

This is not only for DOH-CHD. There are agencies in the government that are not keen on imposing sanctions to those that violate the law and yet when they are caught in not doing so, these agencies wash their hands.

DOH-CHD has been remiss on its duties, that is a fact. Mayor Revita had only the good intention to serve his people. But such intention has been clouded by the imposition of existing laws of the land with which he has to comply.

I personally commend Mayor Revita ( peace be with you sir!) when in his letter as response to the cease and desist order of DOH-CHD said, “But with your letter this time, rest assured that we have learned our lesson and will be guided accordingly pursuant to our existing rules and regulations. I will however be more grateful if you will help us find ways to enable us operate a hospital soon. Thank you and our apologies.”

Bravo! Mayor Revita. This time you humbled yourself to the pressures of DOH-CHD. I hope that humility will be part of your virtues not only if sanctioned by higher authorities but also in dealing with your constituents and other public officials of Rosales.

Last November 3, colleagues in this paper Mortz Ortigoza, publisher Yolanda Sotelo and editor Brando Cortez filed their counter-affidavits on the libel case filed by 6th District Board Member Alfonso C. Bince, Jr. at the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Lingayen. I was also there to file my affidavit as a witness and as a lasting gesture of support to my colleagues because I personally believe that the libel case will not hold water as long as what had been written were true and of the interest of public service.

The litigation, however, is a long process. It will not only entail money but also robs one of time. But that’s how it will be when the libel case filed will be joined by the Regional Prosecutor’s Office (the group requested the inhibition of the provincial prosecutor for obvious reason- he is a brother of the complainant) and finds a probable cause.

I was surprised last Friday while watching the TV broadcast of GMA’s Balitang Amianan when Board Member Bince said he will be open for dialogue to those he filed a case with. Bince was the guest of the Media in Action in that day at the Pedrito’s Restaurant in Dagupan City sponsored by the Pangasinan Press Club (PPC).

I could sense the sincerity of Bince when he said that over the TV broadcast. He humbled himself. He said that he has no personal grudge against Mortz Ortigoza and his co-accused of libel. He was in his high spirit, the ever maverick Bince I looked up to with awe and respect.

Maybe, a dialogue really is better than pursuing the libel case. My colleagues, including me, I suppose will also welcome that move in order to thresh out miscommunications and misgivings. I hope it will materialize soon so that whatever wounds that have been inflicted by the articles of Mortz Ortigoza ( I believe he did it in good faith) will be thrown once and for all into oblivion.
Media and public officials must work hand in hand in bringing information to the general public. Media serves as the mirror while public officials must always look and ask themselves in the mirror if they are faring well in their jobs.

Again, personally I welcome such dialogue with Board Member Alfonso Bince Jr.

(For comments, email me at

Entry filed under: News.

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