Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire responded to a circulating meme on social media which claimed that she was appointed the new Philippine National Police chief.
The health official was interviewed in DZMM Teleradyo’s “Sakto” on Thursday where she was asked about COVID-related matters and issues by program hosts Amy Perez, Johnson Manabat and Jeff Canoy.
One of the things that were brought up was the appointment of the retired Philippine National Police chief Camilo Cascolan as a Department of Health undersecretary.
In the interview, Vergeire said that the agency is talking about the “appropriate assignment” for the former police authority based on his credentials.
Canoy then later brought up a meme circulating on social media that claims President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has appointed her as the “new PNP chief.”
Vergeire laughed when the journalist asked her if she already saw the meme.
“Oo. Mga joke-joke lang po ‘yan ng mga kababayan natin,” she said good-naturedly.
“Kung sakali, tatanggapin niyo, USec?” Canoy responded, using a shorter term for Vergeire’s title.
“Ay, hindi po,” she said with a laugh.
A clip of the interview was uploaded on Twitter, where it has earned around 1,600 views so far.
Meanwhile, when Marcos appointed Cascolan as among the officials of the DOH, some Filipinos took to social media to share their opinions and reactions.
Some responses include a meme styled as breaking news publication material that features Vergeire’s picture with the text: “BBM NAMES VERGEIRE AS NEW PNP CHIEF.”
Reports tagged it as a “satire” as the post is fictional.
Cascolan’s appointment as DOH undersecretary was slammed by some health workers and medical students who said it was a “huge insult” to health experts “who are most qualified to administer and run the affairs of the DOH.”
The retired PNP chief believes that he would be a “big help” in the health department in terms of administration and management work.
“What’s important is the government’s program is implemented with the directive of the OIC Sec. DOH,” Cascolan said before, referring to the DOH officer-in-charge.
Vergeire sits as the officer-in-charge of the health agency until a DOH secretary is formally appointed by Marcos.
The chief executive, meanwhile, defended Cascolan’s appointment by saying that the latter will not be overseeing health matters issues at the agency.
Marcos said that the retired top cop would be dealing with “rightsizing” and “structural changes” at the department.
“We need someone to examine what has been going on. What is good, what is not and what can be fixed. That would be his function,” he added.
Cascolan is part of the Philippine Military Academy’s Sinagtala Class of 1986, along with former PNP chiefs Sen. Bato dela Rosa and Oscar Albayalde.
He has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of the Philippines-Visayas.