Is Arroyo's stem cell doctor back in business? DOJ orders probe

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to verify reports that Antonia Park, the stem cell doctor of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is still giving treatments despite the closure of her clinic in 2014.

Acting on a change.org petition by Bernard Tan, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima issued a two-page memorandum on August 10, asking the NBI to verify Tan's allegations that Park is treating patients again in her clinic in Tagaytay, which was ordered closed by the city government in 2014.

Park is facing multiple cases, including estafa and illegal practice of medicine, but is currently out on bail.

“The Director, NBI [is directed] to verify the veracity of the foregoing allegations and to take appropriate action, in coordination with concerned agencies, including the NPS (National Prosecution Service) and Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC),” said De Lima in the memorandum made public on Wednesday, August 26.

In his petition, Tan urged the PRC, with the aid of the NBI, to "help in cracking down the operation of Antonia Carandang-Park."

Tan is the father of one of Park’s patients, Kate, who died on July 4, 2013, due to a tumor that blocked the entry of blood to her heart, secondary to Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

According to the father, Kate started undergoing stem cell treatment in August 2012, and Park allegedly promised to cure the patient in 3 months' time.

The Tans went to Park's clinic after they saw news of Arroyo seeking alternative treatment there. In July 2012, Park took in Arroyo "for possible stem cell therapy." Park used the title "MD" in her statement released to the press.

Republic Act 2382 or The Medical Act of 1959 considers a person engaged in the practice of medicine when he uses MD after his name.

A Rappler investigative report revealed Park is not licensed to practice in the Philippines – a fact she admitted. (READ: Arroyo's alternative medicine doctor unlicensed)

De Lima also asked Prosecutor General Claro Arellano of the NPS to give an update on all pending cases against Park, which include illegal practice of medicine, estafa, and murder.

De Lima has given Arellano and the NBI up to 20 days to report on actions they have taken in relation to the August 10 order. – Rappler.com 

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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