PMA head, 4 other doctors probed by PRC over alleged fraud, forgery
MANILA, Philippines — The president of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) and his four predecessors have been slapped with ethics cases before the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) for alleged fraud in the registration of the Philippine Society for Stem Cell Medicine (PSSCM) in the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In a statement on Sunday, PRC Chair Teresita Manzala said she has directed the Professional Regulatory Board of Medicine (PRBOM) to file cases against doctors Leo Olarte, Bu Castro, Rey Melchor Santos, Oscar Tinio and Jose Sabili for forging her signature in the incorporation of the PSSCM.
“The Commission directed the PRBOM to initiate the filing of a case of unprofessional, dishonorable and unethical conduct against the five incorporators,” said Manzala, adding that a case was already pending before the PRC legal division.
Olarte, Castro, Santos, Tinio and Sabili were identified as the incorporators of the PSSCM, whose registration has been revoked by the SEC.
Investigation showed the doctors submitted an application to the SEC for the corporation’s registration in February 2013. As part of the procedure, PRBOM sent a communication to the five incorporators requiring them to submit pertinent documents but did not receive any response from the doctors. Without the documents, the PRBOM instead placed the application papers on hold. “It never submitted the application papers and the required PRC endorsement to the SEC for final approval,” said Manzala.
But several months later, the board received information that the PSSCM was able to register with the SEC, based on an endorsement signed by the PRC chair.
“On examination of the supposed PRC endorsement, it was noted that the reference regulatory law used was the Philippine Veterinary Law of 2004, instead of…the Medical Act of 1959, and there appeared a signature of the PRC chair,” she said.
Manzala said three of the incorporators, whom she did not identify, denied participation in obtaining the SEC registration and pointed to Dr. Mike Aragon, the PMA spokesperson, as the one responsible for registering the organization at SEC.
In a notarized affidavit submitted to the PRBOM, Aragon admitted he was appointed to register the corporation at SEC but added that he paid P15,000 to a trading company to file the necessary documents needed for the incorporation of PSSCM. He denied involvement in the actual processing of the SEC papers after making the payment.
Manzala submitted a complaint to the SEC, charging her signature was forged in August 2013.
The SEC investigated the alleged forgery upon Manzala’s request, serving summons to the five doctors and asking them to file a response to the complaint.
No reply was submitted to the SEC, said Manzala.
“After the lapse of the 15-day period within which the respondents should have submitted their reply, the SEC proceeded to promulgate the decision, effectively revoking the registration of the PSSCM,” said the PRC chief.