DOJ chief: Chinese citizens may not be the only clients of illegal clinics


Posted at May 30 2020 07:36 PM

DOJ chief: Chinese citizens may not be the only clients of illegal clinics 1
In this May 19, 2020 photo provided by the Philippine National Police - Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Regional Field Unit 3, police teams wearing protective suits inspect an illegal seven-bed hospital beside a drug store inside a residential villa at the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone in Pampanga province. Central Luzon-CIDG Regional Field Unit 3 via AP

MANILA--Unauthorized Chinese clinics that were shut down in different parts of the Philippines this week might not be catering exclusively to Chinese citizens, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Saturday.

At least four such facilities were raided on allegations they were accepting and treating patients, two of which were caught with COVID-19 testing kits and medicine.

Guevarra said in an interview that even if all clinics were run by Chinese nationals, government "cannot say 100 percent" that Filipinos or other foreigners are not checking into the facilities.

"Baka mamaya, may naniniwala sa kanilang ginagawang sistema na pag-treat sa COVID-19, or ibang klaseng karamdaman, ay effective. So hindi rin natin masasabi na baka limited lamang iyon sa mga kapwa nila Tsino," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

"Maaaring may nagpupunta rin na iba sa kanila."

At least 5 Chinese citizens, including a father and his son, and one Filipina pharmacist were arrested in those raids.

Charges connected with the Food and Drug Administration law (RA 9711) and the Medicine Act of 1958 (RA 2382) have been filed against the suspects.

Because of the number of Chinese suspects arrested in the raids, there has been speculation that only Chinese citizens, especially those who are working in online gaming companies, are being treated in those clinics.

Under the law, clinics or laboratories conducting COVID-19 tests in the Philippines should be accredited by the Department of Health. Even referral hospitals or other health facilities should be listed by the department.

On Friday, the DOH reported 1,046 more coronavirus cases, raising the Philippines' total number of infections to 16,634. Of the total, 3,720 recovered and 942 died.