NBI ordered to hunt down ‘stem cell doc’
JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima on Wednesday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to hunt down the stem cell therapy doctor of detained former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for allegedly illegally practicing alternative medicine in the country.
In a two-page memorandum issued on Wednesday, de Lima ordered the NBI to hunt down Dr. Antonia Carandang-Park, who has reportedly opened another clinic after posting bail for syndicated estafa and murder case following the death of cancer patient Kate Tan in 2014.
Tan, who had Hodgkin’s lymphoma (a type of cancer of the blood), was reportedly given the same treatment that had been administered to Mrs. Arroyo, which included juicing diet, vegetable diet, acupuncture, coffee enema and stem cell.
“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),” de Lima said.
The Justice Secretary also ordered Prosecutor General Claro Arellano to give her an update on the illegal practice, syndicated estafa, murder, BP22 (bouncing check) case against Park.
Both NBI and Arellano were given at least 20 days to submit their report.
De Lima issued the order following an online petition called “Justice for Kate,” which was initiated by Tan’s father, Bernard.
Bernard said Park has been misrepresenting herself as a “Miracle Doctor” who promised to cure Tan using alternative medicine.
He said they brought her daughter to Park’s clinic along SVD Road, Barangay San Jose, Tagaytay City and spent P36,000 to P40,000 a week after they were assured by the doctor that Tan will be cancer free after three months.
However, Tan died of cancer on July 04, 2013.
They soon learned that Park “does not appear in the registry of authorized physicians to practice medicine in the Philippines,” which prompted them to file criminal cases against her.
Park was then charged in court with illegal practice, syndicated estafa, and murder. Bernard lamented that the eight counts of estafa were reduced to only one.
Bernard said they received information that Park started discreetly accepting patients for stem cell treatment after she was released on bail.
He urged “the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) with the aid of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to help in cracking down the operation of Antonia Carandang-Park.”
The Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) has warned that the success of stem cell therapy has yet to be guaranteed, since using it in some other conditions remains experimental. It also countered claims that it is an effective anti-aging treatment.
The group also said the treatment should be given only by trained professionals in accredited facilities.
Dr. Anthony Leachon, vice president of the PCP, said there are a lot of risks involved in undergoing the procedure, which includes infection, spreading of the tumor, and embolism,” a condition where the blood flow in an artery is blocked by a foreign body.”
For its part, the Department of Health said it will not comment on the issue until it has released guidelines on stem cell therapy. Tetch Torres-Tupas
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