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Medical clinics suspended by DOH take case to CA.

A group of medical clinics suspended by the Department of Health (DOH) urged the Court of Appeals (CA) to nullify the order stopping them from providing medical services to Filipino workers bound for Kuwait.

In their 30-page petition, they urged the appeals court to also issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the implementation of the order issued by DOH Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial.

The petitioners, which included Ruben Bartolome Clinic Inc., Abakkus Medical Diagnostic Services, Orion Medical and Diagnostic Center, San Marcelino Medical Clinic Co., and Global Medical Clinic, said the order by the DOH is tantamount to grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

Through their legal counsel Atty. Edward Martinez, the petitioners said the suspension was issued 'in blatant and deliberate disregard of existing laws, rules and regulations, and even the DOH's own rules of procedure, and in violation of petitioners' right to due process.'

They insisted that there has to be a formal complaint or charge filed before the Bureau of Health and Facilities Services (BHFS) or the DOH before preventive suspension could be imposed as provided for under Administrative Order (AO) No. 2013-0006.

'More importantly, the said orders were made effective immediately upon issuance thereof and for an indefinite period of time. Thus, essentially, respondents have summarily and arbitrarily shut down the medical clinics of the petitioners without due process of law, in violation of their fundamental rights under the Constitution,' the petition stated.

They said under the law, the BHFS Director is tasked to investigate and conduct hearings in relation to the charge or complaint against a medical clinic and is the one vested with the authority to impose the corresponding sanction/s.

Petitioners said the suspension should not go beyond 60 days as provided by the same AO. In this case, however, the suspension imposed by the DOH is indefinite and arbitrary.

The DOH ordered the suspension of the clinics based on two resolutions filed in the House of Representatives calling for an inquiry in aid of legislation against the facilities accusing them of conspiring with Mawared Services and Winston Q8 Certifications Solutions Inc. in creating a monopoly of providing medical services for all migrant workers bound for Kuwait in violation of Republic Act No. 10022 (Migrant Workers' Act).

The petitioners have denied this allegation of monopoly against them, saying their listing under Winston Q8 was due to that fact they had been confirmed by the latter in compliance with the directive of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health.

'The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health, through Winston Q8, continuously confirms the eligibility of Philippine DOH-accredited medical clinics, and thereby extends its invitation to all other DOH-accredited medical clinics to submit themselves for confirmation of eligibility and compliance with the standards of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health,' the petitioners said.

'To impose liability to those medical clinics that comply with the requirements and standards of the Ministry of Health of other countries is tantamount to prohibiting the other countries from setting their own standards in accepting or not the migrant workers for health reasons,' petitioners added.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Mar 16, 2017
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