By Jeffrey Damicog
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has expressed willingness to cooperate in investigations concerning alleged “ghost” claims with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Tuesday (June 25).
Duque personally conveyed this when he met with Guevarra and officials of the the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday (June 25).
“Sec. Duque requested a meeting with me and the NBI this morning to express his willingness and readiness, as Philhealth chair, to cooperate with and extend assistance to the NBI in the conduct of its expanded investigation of alleged ghost claims filed with Philhealth,” Guevarra stated.
The Secretary had already issued Department Order No. 287 last June 7 which directed the NBI “to conduct an investigation and case build-up” against hospitals and clinics engaged in fraudulent claims with Philhealth and determine which Philhealth officials and employees are also involved in the scheme.
“As to the Philhealth investigation, the NBI will first examine the relevant documents pertaining to payment of fraudulent claims, and then determine who will be summoned for investigation,” Guevarra said.
The Secretary assured that Duque will not be exempted from the NBI investigation.
So far, the NBI filed before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) last June 17 charges against WellMed Dialysis Center owner Bryan Christopher Sy and the two whistleblowers, former WellMed employees Edwin Roberto and Liezel Aileen De Leon.
They were charged with for 17 counts of estafa through falsification of public documents in violation of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) in connection with “ghost dialysis” claims with the Philhealth using the names of already dead patients.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday (June 25) already begun its preliminary investigation against other officers and employees of WellMed based on the complaint filed by the NBI.
They are Sy’s father Claro Sy; Sy’s wife Therese Francesca Tan-Sy; Dr. John Ray Gonzales; Alvin Sy; Dick Ong; Dr. Porsha Natividad; and Dr. Joemie Soriano.