Why New Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa's Name Sounds So Familiar

Here's where you might have heard his name.
June 06, 2023

(SPOT.ph) For the first time under the Marcos administration, the Department of Health has a secretary—Teodoro Herbosa Jr. was appointed to the health department's top post almost a year after Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. began his presidency.

A former adviser to the National Task Force Against COVID-19, Herbosa is no stranger to controversies that placed his name on news headlines, among them his tweet blaming Angel Locsin's community pantry for the death of an elderly man in 2021.

The former Health undersecretary, who served from 2010 to 2015, was welcomed back to the department that hailed his "vital" role in several health initiatives.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire, who was officer-in-charge prior to Herbosa's appointment, said DOH would provide all-out support to its new head.

Also read: Gov't Adviser in 'Death By Community Pantry' Tweet Blames Troll Army

Who is Teodoro Herbosa, the new DOH Secretary?

President Bongbong Marcos with new Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa and Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire.
PHOTO BY Presidential Communications Office/Facebook

Herbosa has an extensive background in healthcare and education, with a career built throughout the decades.

He holds a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of the Philippines Diliman and a medical degree from the UP Manila. He also has an international diploma in emergency and crisis management from the University of Geneva and postgraduate studies in medicine from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University.

Herbosa was also a DOH undersecretary from 2010 to 2015 and UP's executive vice president from 2017 to 2021. In UP, he also held the position of Chief Division of Trauma at the Department of Surgery and was professor at the College of Medicine in the Manila campus.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he was a special adviser to the National Task Force Against COVID-19.

Teodoro Herbosa has his viral moments

Think you've heard his name before? Aside from being sought for his thoughts and comments as government adviser during the COVID-19 pandemic, he also made a name for himself in other ways.

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'Death by community pantry' tweet

In April 2021, an elderly balut vendor passed away while lining up for food at actress Angel Locsin's community pantry; Herbosa then tweeted "Death by 'Community Pantry'. I told you so!"

He deleted his tweet following the backlash then issued a public apology, saying he "sincerely apologizes" as he expressed support for the community pantry initiative.


Two days later, he resigned as UP's executive vice president citing "personal reasons."

He blamed "troll army" and "blame culture" for the attacks he received.

Linked COVID-19 infection, deaths to anti-government rallies

On Twitter, he shared an unverified article saying six people had died of COVID-19 after joining anti-government protests in July 2020. The article cited no sources to back up its claim.



Anti-rally sentiment

The former UP executive vice president also told the Student Regent, the student's representative to the UP Board of Regents, to resign afer she urged university students to boycott their classes following Marcos' win in the 2022 elections.

"This regent should actually resign because obviously, you are agitating young people... 'Yang pagra-rally na 'yan, walang magagawa 'yan kasi wala namang maling ginawa. Nanggagaling tayo sa isang demokratikong proseso. 'Yan ang lason na binibigay nitong Student Regent na 'to sa ating kabataan," he said during an SMNI interview in May 2022. 

"Cadaver politics"

When arrested activist Reina Mae Nasino's baby, River, died in October 2020, it sparked protest among groups, blaming the government for how they handled the Nasinos during detention.

His response? "Cadaver politics."

"That baby was cared for by the government using government funds and government doctors at the PGH. Where was the father? Nowhere. So who neglected and caused the death of baby River? Definitely NOT the government nor the doctors and nurses who work tirelessly there. This use of an innocent child for a failed ideology angers me!" he said in a comment as posted by Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr.