MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday assured the public that the Chinese nationals illegally operating a makeshift medical facility in Clark, Pampanga will face charges.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement after authorities arrested two nationals namely Ling Hu, alleged owner of the facility and Seung-Hyun Lee, alleged pharmacist, for running a villa illegally operating as a makeshift medical facility for Chinese patients.
He said they could face charges for violation of the Medical Act also known as Republic No. Act 2382 and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Act also known as Republic Act No. 9711.
“Kakasuhan po iyong mga nahuli sa Fontana dahil nilabag po nila iyong dalawang batas na nagsasabing hindi puwedeng mag-practice ng medisina ng walang lisensiya; hindi puwedeng mag-dispense ng gamot na hindi rehistrado sa FDA (Those caught in Fontana will face charges for violating two laws–one that prohibits practicing medicine without a license and dispensing medicine not registered under the Food and Drug Administration),” Roque said in a virtual presser.
Currently, the suspects are now detained at Camp Olivas, City of San Fernando, Pampanga.
Roque said the Palace was alarmed by the report, stressing that only licensed physicians are allowed to practice the medical profession in the country.
“Naaalarama po ang Palasyo diyan ‘no. Unang-una, mayroon po tayong batas na tanging mga kuwalipikadong doktor lamang ang puwedeng mag-practice ng medisina rito (The Palace was alarmed by that report. First, we have a law that states that only qualified doctors can practice medicine in the country),” he said.
He added that persons found guilty of illegal practice of medicine could be sent to jail.
Under the Medical Act, “any person found guilty of illegal practice of medicine shall be punished by a fine of not less than PHP1,000 nor more than PHP10,000 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, or by imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than five years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court”.
He said the Chinese nationals should have also received approval from the FDA before selling medicines.
“Dapat aprubado po iyan ng ating FDA. At nagpapataw rin po tayo ng parusa kapag ikaw ay gumamit o di naman kaya ay nagbenta ng mga gamot na hindi po aprubado ng FDA (The medicines should be approved by the FDA. And we also file penalties if you use or sell medicine not approved by the FDA),” he said.
Under the FDA Act, “any person who violates any of the provisions of Section eleven hereof shall, upon conviction, suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from one year but not more than 10 years or a fine of not less than PHP50,000 but not more than PHP500,000 or both, at the discretion of the court…”
Roque, meanwhile, said President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the FDA to act on drug applications, including traditional Chinese medicines, within 48 hours.
“Ang sabi ng Presidente sa FDA noong isang pagpupulong, mayroon lang kayong 48 hours to act on all these submissions and all these applications dahil sa panahon ng pandemiya kung talagang mayroong mga gamot na available dapat mabilis ang pag-akto natin (The President told the FDA during the meeting that they have 48 hours to act on all submissions because during this time of pandemic if there is available medicine, we should act fast),” he said. (IA/PNA)