The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday recommended the filing of charges against more than two dozen officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth), mostly physicians, for their part in the accreditation of Wellmed Dialysis and Laboratory Center Corp.
Recommended to Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento for preliminary investigation of charges against officials and members of the accreditation sub-committee of the Philhealth which processed the papers of Wellmed, namely Dr. Rizza Majella L. Herrera, Acting Senior Manager and Head of the Accreditation Department of the Philhealth; Dr. Bernadette C. Lico and Dr. Janice Gem Perlas, chairpersons of accreditation sub-committee; and sub-committee members Dr. Leilani Joy V. Asprer, Dr. Rofien Ison Dr. Manuel Lampitoc, lawyer Recto M. Panti, Henry V. Almanon, Dr. Jeffrey C. Pe, Cheryl Welan, Lolita V. Tuliao, Dr. Quintin T. Callueng, lawyer Mary Grace delos Santos, Maricel Maglalang, Susan Rebecca Romero, Yvonne A. Fernandez, Dr. Katrina Marie Aguilar, Dr. Cynthia P. Camacho, Dr. Imelda Trinidad De Vera-Pe, Dr. Arsenio P. Alcantara and Dr. Leticia Gay D. Aguda.
The charge sheet was signed by NBI Investigation Agent Ferdinand G. Razon, NBI Anti-Graft Division (NBI AGD) Executive Officer Marlon K. Tauli and Anti- Graft Division chief Catherine Camposano-Remegio.
“Despite the knowledge that there are already fraudulent claims discovered by the fact finding, investigation, and enforcement department as of June 2018, (they were still given an) accreditation in 2019,” Remegio explained to reporters adding that “even after the incidents, there was still no withdrawal of the accreditation”.
The NBI charges are for violation of Republic Act 3019 otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act 10606 otherwise known as the National Health Insurance Program and Republic Act 6713 otherwise known as Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials.
Prosecutors have vowed to file the proper charges before the proper court after the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) earlier dismissed the 17 complaints filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) against physician Bryan Sy, and others implicated in the bogus claims filed by the Wellmed Dialysis and Laboratory Center Corp. with PhilHealth.
In a 14-page resolution, RTC Branch 219 Judge Janet Abergos-Samar said “these cases are dismissed for lack of jurisdiction over the offenses charged without prejudice to refiling before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City”.
The ruling granted a motion to quash filed by Sy’s counsels – which said that the court has no jurisdiction over the offense of estafa through falsification of public documents, since the crime is punishable with a maximum penalty of six years imprisonment, which is cognizable by the first-level courts.
“The court emphasizes that the dismissal of these cases has nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of the accused. The cases are dismissed because based on the crime charged in the information, and the applicable penalty, it is not the Regional Trial Court, which has jurisdiction to hear and decide the cases, but the first level courts or the Metropolitan Trial Courts,” the magistrate ruled.
“The accused may still be prosecuted and the cases may still be filed before the said courts notwithstanding the dismissal decreed herein,” the ruling added.
On June 13, prosecutors recommended the filing of separate information against Sy and former Wellmed employees Liezel Aileen de Leon and Edwin Roberto for estafa through falsification of public and or official documents, for the alleged irregular or fraudulent claims for payment of dialysis and other medical treatments by Wellmed from the state health insurance firm.