Health Secretary fires Mabel Cabeza amid allegations of irregular handling of coronavirus tests

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The new secretary of the Department of Health, Lorenzo González Feliciano, announced this Monday the dismissal of Mabel Head, executive assistant to the agency and chief of staff under the mandate of the dismissed secretary, Rafael Rodríguez Mercado.

Cabeza is the person named by the former acting secretary of the Department of Health, Concepción Quiñones de Longo, as responsible for the irregular management of hundreds of tests to detect the coronavirus amid the crisis and management of the disease in Puerto Rico. Quiñones de Longo also revealed that although he removed Cabeza from his functions once Rodríguez was dismissed, they called her from La Fortaleza to indicate that he was an “indispensable” person for the Health operation.

“They made me sign a letter to highlight it in Fortaleza,” Quiñones de Longo said in an interview on Saturday with Jay Fonseca. “My personal and professional integrity does not allow me to work in circumstances that I do not see transparency.”

Quiñones de Longo also revealed in an interview with The new day that Health is being investigated by federal authorities.

González Feliciano indicated, for his part, that all the contracts that the Manpower company has with the Department of Health will also be being reviewed.

“After analyzing what has been publicly aired and in accordance with what was announced yesterday by the Governor, Wanda Vázquez Garced, we make public the dismissal of the now former employee of our Department, relieving her of all her functions effective immediately. During the confirmation hearings, I assured that I would be evaluating everything concerning the Department, and this is the first step we take today, “González Feliciano said in a press release.

Likewise, the Secretary of Health announced that he has issued instructions to verify 100 percent of the contracts that the Manpower Company maintains with the Department, in terms of the employees that have been hired by the agency, which will be done under your supervision.

He added that this includes the salary awarded to each employee by contract, so that it is in accordance with the tasks he performs, while reviewing that each of these meets the requirements of the position.

“I have seen the signs that have come out in the media and under my administration, we will ensure that all processes, past and future, are carried out in accordance with the laws and that they are consistent with everything stipulated in the Government Ethics Law. In my administration, there will be no space for hiring that does not occur within the framework of the law, ”assured the doctor.

“As we know, we are at a time when prudence and spending cuts have been called for within all government agencies, and the Health Department is no exception. We will maintain those that are strictly necessary for the operation of the agency.

The Secretary of Health emphasized that everything will be done with the seriousness and haste that this requires.

“The Governor of Puerto Rico has already made it clear that these signs that have been publicly aired must be resolved immediately, so today, during my first day serving as proprietary secretary, we will be attending not only that related to the Coronavirus but also the and the agency as a whole, to ensure that each administrative action is in accordance with the regulations and laws of the Government of Puerto Rico, “he concluded.



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