Dialysis center staff face fraud charges, but not Philhealth officials

Lian Buan
Dialysis center staff face fraud charges, but not Philhealth officials
Complaints of estafa and falsification of documents are filed against 10 employees of the Wellmed Dialysis Center, including the two whistleblowers

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday, June 11, filed complaints of estafa and falsification of documents against 10 employees of the Wellmed Dialysis Center, including its detained owner and two whistleblowers.

The initial complaint was filed before the NBI by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), who did not include any of its employees of officers.

“Hindi kapani-paniwala na walang taga loob sa Philhealth na dapat sinampahan, bakit pagdating sa kanilang sariling uri, hindi sila nagsampa, napakadali namang malaman kung sinong nagpa process ng claim para sa Wellmed,” says Harry Roque, lawyer of whistleblowers Liezel Aileen De Leon and Edwin Roberto.

(It’s unbelievable that no one from Philhealth was included in the complaint. Why did they not file a complaint against their own, when it’s so easy to find out who processed Wellmed claims?)

De Leon, Roberto, and Wellmed owner Bryan Sy are among the 10 Wellmed employees who face the complaints. The three are in NBI custody. The whistleblowers have to be included in the complaint in order to be discharged as witnesses later.

According to the complaint, Sy instructed the whistleblowers to process the Philhealth claims of patient members who came to them for dialysis but were already dead. 

The complaint said that a total of P808,600 was charged to Philhealth by Wellmed, based only on the claims processed by the whistleblowers.

Roque said that according to documents in their possession, Wellmed appears to have regular transactions with Philhealth, as often as every two weeks.

“Philhealth, kung gusto niyong paniwalaan kayo ng taumbayan na seryoso kayo na habulin itong mga nangingikil sa taong bayan, kasuhan niyo yung mga sarili niyong kasama,” said Roque.

(Philhealth, if you want the people to believe that you’re serious in running after the people who defrauded the public, file charges against your own.)

Roque said that the whistleblowers, his clients, do not know anyone from Philhealth.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday offered the post of Philhealth president and CEO to Dr Jaime T. Cruz, who heads a food and beverage company and is also involved in a Filipino-Chinese charity group.

Warrantless arrest

By the end of Tuesday, Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutor Anna Doreen Devanadera ordered the continued detention of Sy, who was arrested Monday without a warrant.

Devanadera did not expressly rule on the legality of the warrantless arrest, typically the result of an inquest proceeding, but cited to an earlier court decision that denied Sy’s petition for habeas corpus.

The petition for a habeas corpus, latin words for produce the body, was resorted to by Sy to question the legality of his arrest and detention. The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 20 denied the petition, saying “that there is no probable cause for the warrantless arrest of the subject has been held not a valid ground for the issue of a Writ of Habeas Corpus.” 

Meanwhile at the DOJ, Devanadera will decide whether there’s probable cause to transmit the charges to court. – Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.