Revocation of license of 5 stem cell doctors sought

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No less than Chairman Teresita Manzala of the Professional Regulation Commission is seeking the revocation of license of five stem cell doctors who were found guilty of fabricating her signature.

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In an afternoon press conference, Manzala said the fate of the five doctors, all directors and officers of Philippine Society for Stem Cell Medicine (PSSCM), are now in the hands of the six-man board of medicine.

Facing unprofessional, unethical and dishonorable conduct are Leo Olarte, treasurer and legal counsel of PSSCM; Bu Castro, secretary; Rey Melchor

Santos, president; Oscar Tinio, vice president; and Jose Asa Sabili as chairman.

The Securities Exchange Commission (PSC) last Jan. 10 ordered the cancellation of the registration of PSSCM for submitting fabricated endorsement from PRC.

Manzala sometime in August last year wrote a letter to SEC, saying that her signature in the endorsement letter was not hers or fake. She also directed the Professional Regulatory Board of Medicine (PRBM) to conduct an investigation motu propio.

Doctor Jose Cueto, a member of the board, told The Manila Times that actually the hearings are still ongoing. He said the case is still pending due to several motions, particularly from the camp of Olarte.

PSSCM alleged that their case is being tried by PRC wherein the complainant is the commission’s chairman, and that the PRBM is an office under Manzala.

The PRC chair countered that PRBM is a quasi body, tasked to investigate, conduct hearings and decide on questions on professionalism of medical doctors.

Manzala added that she is weighing the case with utmost precaution since it involves professionals who are themselves experts in their own field of practice.

Cueto explained that Olarte and his colleagues, if found guilty of faking the signature of Manzala, could either be reprimanded or be given warning; suspension of license for several months defending on the gravity of offense.

Manzala admitted that she prepared and signed an endorsement letter but decided to put it on hold upon learning that PSSCM was about to hold a convention.

PSSCM, however, was able to produce an endorsement letter, which was the basis for SEC to recognize it as a business entity.

Manzala did not waste time and relayed to SEC her suspicion that PSSCM used a fabricated endorsement letter.

Olarte, for his part, said PSSCM was also a victim. He said his group-tapped individuals to seek and process the endorsement letter from PRC.

It just so happened that a fabricated endorsement letter was passed on to them.

Manzala explained that the fake endorsement letter was obvious since it placed stem cell under the veterinary medicine.

“In my signed endorsement letter, stem cell as medical practice is under the Philippine Medical Act of 1959,” she said. JAIME R. PILAPIL

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