NBI files graft complaints vs 21 Philhealth officials over Wellmed scam

Lian Buan
NBI files graft complaints vs 21 Philhealth officials over Wellmed scam
The officials hold different positions in the accreditation committee of Philhealth

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday, August 28, filed  before the Department of Justice (DOJ) graft complaints against 21 accreditation officials of Philhealth for failing to flag the fraudulent claims of Wellmed Dialysis Center.

The NBI’s anti-graft division transmitted to Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento the recommendation to prosecute the officials for graft, violation of the Philhealth law, and the administrative offense of violating the code of conduct of public officials.

Whistleblowers – former employees of Wellmed – claimed that the dialysis center filed claims with Philhealth for patients who were already dead.

The NBI earlier filed complaints of estafa against Wellmed owner  Bryan Sy and whistleblowers Liezel Aileen de Leon and Edwin Roberto.

De Leon and Roberto have to be charged to become state witnesses later on.

Failure in the accreditation process

The 21 officials facing graft complaints are the following:

  1. Dr Rizza Majella Herrera – Acting Senior Manager, Head of the Accreditation Department of Philhealth
  2. Dr Bernadette Lico – Chairperson of Accreditation Sub-Commiitee, Philhealth Regional Office National Capital Region (PRO-NCR)
  3. Dr Janice Gem Perlas – Chairperson of Accreditation Sub-Committee, PRO-NCR
  4. Dr Leilani Cherillina Joy Asprer – Branch Manager of NCR South and Member of Accreditation Sub-Committee of Philhealth NCR
  5. Dr Rofien Sison – Branch Manager of NCR South and Member of Accreditation Sub-Committee of Philhealth NCR
  6. Dr. Manuel Lampitoc – Permanent Alternate Of Accreditation Sub-Committee of PRO-NCR
  7. Recto Panti – Member of Accreditation Sub-Committee of Philhealth NCR
  8. Henry Almanon – Member of Accreditation Sub-Committee of Philhealth NCR
  9. Dr Jeffrey Pe – Permanent Alternate Of Accreditation Sub-Committee of PRO-NCR
  10. Cheryl Welan – Member of Accreditation Sub-Committee of Philhealth NCR
  11. Lolita Tuliao – Branch Manager. PRO NCR Central, Member of Accreditation Sub-Committee of Philhealth NCR
  12. Dr Quintin Callueng – Permanent Alternate Of Accreditation Sub-Committee of PRO NCR
  13. Mary Grace delos Santos – Member of Accreditation Sub-Committee of Philhealth NCR
  14. Maricel Maglalang – Permanent Alternate Of Accreditation Sub-Committee of PRO NCR
  15. Susan Rebecca Romero – Member of Accreditation Sub-Committee of Philhealth NCR
  16. Yvonne Fernandez – Permanent Alternate Of Accreditation Sub-Committee of PRO NCR
  17. Katrina Marie Aguilar – Permanent Alternate Of Accreditation Sub-Committee of PRO NCR
  18. Cynthia Camacho – Member of Accreditation Sub-Committee of Philhealth NCR
  19. Dr Imelda Trinidad de Vera-Pe – Head BA and Member of Accreditation Sub-Committee of Philhealth NCR
  20. Dr Arsenio Alcantara – Permanent Alternate Of Accreditation Sub-Committee of PRO NCR
  21. Dr Leticia Gay Aguda – Permanent Alternate Of Accreditation Sub-Committee of PRO NCR

According to the NBI, Wellmed’s accreditation was renewed on January 4, 2019, despite submitting incomplete documents. Wellmed was not required to submit its updated financial statement.

The NBI said this was a violation of the Accredtiation Subcommittee’s mandate.

Records showed that Wellmed was investigated by Philhealth’s  Fact-Finding Investigation and Enforcement Department (FFIED) as early as October 2018.

The NBI said that Philhealth’s PRO-NCR was mandated to periodically check health facilities such as Wellmed, for compliance.

“Should the PRO-NCR perform its duty to monitor, the fraudulent activity should have been detected earlier, thus its accreditation be withdrawn and payment of its claims should not have been made,” said the NBI.

No suspension of payment of claims

Records also showed that after the accreditation was given on January 4, the Accreditation Subcommittee (ASC) held another meeting on February 7, where it was decided that Philhealth would withdraw the accreditation.

Despite the decision to withdraw the accreditation, the subcommittee still processed Wellmed claims and paid them. This continued until June 13 this year.

“The negligence committed by the members of the ASC resulted in the unnecessary payment of claims of Wellmed,” said the NBI.

Graft complaints against public officials are usually handled by the Office of the Ombudsman. The administrative complaint also has the penalty of suspension or dismissal, which is also the power of the Ombudsman. – 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.