15 June 2021 – After going to the Office of the Ombudsman, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has now turned to the Department of Health (DOH) asking it to conduct its own probe against an official of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who allegedly sat on hundreds of drug applications for Automatic Renewal (AR) with some pending since 2013.


In his letter to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, ARTA Secretary Jeremiah Belgica noted the prima facie case the Authority found against FDA Center for Drug Regulation and Research (CDRR) Jesusa Joyce Cirunay.


He attached his letter with copies of the Disposition and Complaint-Affidavit which ARTA filed against Cirunay before the Ombudsman last week. The said documents encapsulated a total of 420 counts of violations of Section 21 (e) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 11032, otherwise known as the “Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018,” for failure to render government services within the prescribed processing time resulting from her response to the May 11 Show Cause Order issued by ARTA.


“In this regard…the Authority respectfully recommends that an investigation be conducted against her (Cirunay) for possible violations of R.A. No. 6713, otherwise known as the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees” and R.A. No. 3019, otherwise known as the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” Belgica told Duque.


The ARTA czar also encouraged the DOH to look into other appropriate laws against Cirunay that may be deemed proper based on the Authority’s investigation.


With this, Belgica hopes for the “usual prompt and favorable action” of the Health chief on the matter.


Under R.A. No. 9711 or the law which renamed the former Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) to FDA, the latter shall be under the Office of the Secretary of the DOH and the Center Directors shall be appointed by the Secretary of Health.


Meanwhile, ARTA will also refer the case to the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission for lifestlye check.