Minguita Padilla, 62, is an ophthalmologist, academician, author and health advocate, with a career spanning over 34 years. She previously served at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. as head executive staff under chairman and Health Secretary Janette Garin from March 2015 to June 2016 and as a consultant at the Department of Health under Secretaries Enrique Ona and Garin from November 2014 to March 2015.
In addition to her private medical practice at major hospitals, she has advocated for organ donation, particularly corneal donation and transplant, for over 25 years. She founded the Eye Bank Foundation of the Philippines in October 1995 and has been part of several international eye bank associations.
Her health advocacy has extended to fighting misinformation about health, convening the Doctors for Truth and Public Welfare in 2017, in connection with the Dengvaxia controversy. This group of physicians, academicians and scientists also promotes vaccine confidence and combats disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines.
Padilla was also the lead medical adviser of Project ARK, a private sector initiative under the GoNegosyo umbrella, seeking to make COVID-19 testing in various forms accessible to all Filipinos and help small and medium scale businesses affected by the pandemic.
If elected senator, she intends to focus on priority areas, including an improved pandemic response, enhanced health care systems, especially PhilHealth, curbing corruption in government and ensuring more support for health care workers. She touts her medical background as a good alternative to veteran politicians.
Padilla is running under the tandem of Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
The candidate's top priorities if elected to office, tracked against previous promises and accomplishments, if any
- Ensure optimum response to the COVID-19 pandemic and that the country is better prepared for future pandemics, by passing a Pandemic Preparedness Act
- Curb profiteering during pandemics
Head medical adviser of Project ARK, a private sector initiative to help small and medium businesses affected by the pandemic and expand COVID-19 testing
- Address the runaway corruption in government agencies
- Fix the systemic problems within PhilHealth
- Realize the proper implementation of the Universal Health Care Act
- Address the supply chain management for medicines and medical supplies
- Support health care workers
- Care for mental health of the youth
- Ensure full implementation of our Organ Donation Act
- Strengthen laws against fake news, especially in health care and medicine
1. As Head Executive Staff of PhilHealth from Mar. 31, 2015-June 30, 2016, helped effect reforms to improve efficiency and lessen fraud
6. As Eye Bank Foundation founder and president and head of various eye bank associations, has advocated for corneal donation and transplant since the early 1990s
7. Co-convenor of Doctor for Truth and Public Welfare, since 2017
Focus on the welfare of farmers and fisherfolk, for food security and adequate food supply, especially through support from the local government
Enact laws to help improve climate change and protect our environment
Protect our sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea, by aligning with other countries to assert our proper claims
The candidate's top five accomplishments and contributions for the last 15 years or so
Padilla was briefly appointed to PhilHealth under chairman and Health Secretary Janette Garin. She helped effect reforms to improve efficiency and lessen fraud, and raised concerns about anomalies in some private hospitals. In 2019, she would agree with allegations of padded or manufactured medical benefit claims by hospitals and stress that fraud would not be so prevalent if no one from the inside was protecting corrupt officials. At that time, conservative estimates were that from 2013 to 2018, the public lost P154 billion due to PhilHealth’s overpayments and other fraudulent schemes.
In addition, Padilla warned it would be very dangerous once PhilHealth was given more funds to implement the universal health care program. Her claims were strongly denied by then-acting president and CEO Dr. Roy Ferrer, stating that no mafia could survive in PhilHealth under the watch of President Rodrigo Duterte. PhilHealth would then figure in several controversies, including the failure to flag the fraudulent claims of Wellmed Dialysis Center that led to President Duterte demanding courtesy resignations of Dr. Ferrer and other board members in June 2019.
Head executive staff, March 2015 to June 2016
Consultant, November 2014 to March 2015
Padilla has been a physician and surgeon, specializing in ophthalmology, for more than three decades. Currently, she is a clinical associate professor ng Philippine General Hospital-UP College of Medicine and serves multiple roles at the St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City.
She is the founder and president of the Eye Bank Foundation of the Philippines, which is a non-profit, non-government, humanitarian organization formed in October 1995 that owns and operates a medical eye bank named the Santa Lucia International Eye Bank of Manila.
Padilla has authored and co-authored various published scientific papers and socio-political commentaries. She was involved in the drafting of key laws since 1994, with the passage of Republic Act No. 7170 (or the Organ Donation Act), as amended by R.A. 7885 (An Act to Promote Corneal Transplantation in the Philippines) and approval by President Fidel V. Ramos in 1995.
In 2002, she led a movement of various health care groups and became an official spokesperson of the Philippine Medical Association in the campaign to defeat proposed bills in both chambers of Congress seeking to criminalize medical malpractice. She has continued to consult and serve on technical working committees for health care bills in both chambers.
Achievements in the Private Sector
Consultant; head of the Committee on Ethics and Discipline; head of the Ocular Tissue Transplant Service; member of the advisory board to the hospital president
Clinical Associate Professor
1. Eye Bank Foundation and the SLIEB, which aims to helps give sight to corneally blind individuals through corneal transplants, regardless of age, gender, race, religion or financial status
2. Association of Eye Banks in Asia, a supra-national organization of eye banks in Asian countries
3. Executive Committee of the Global Alliance of Eye Banks Association
1. Founder and president, 1995-2021
2. President, Apr. 28, 2021-present
3. Member, current
President, 2006 and 2007