Manila court orders release of Wellmed owner

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 6 on Saturday, June 15, ordered the release of Wellmed Dialysis Center owner Bryan Sy who is still detained at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Sy posted bail worth P72,000 for charges of estafa and falsification of documents over the Philhealth scandal. His family-owned Wellmed is accused of charging Philhealth claims for patient members who are already dead.

The NBI has not released Sy as of writing.

“The NBI is duty-bound to release our client since there is already a Release Order from the court. It is the constitutional right of our client to post bail and be released accordingly, without any conditions,” Sy’s lawyer Rowell Ilagan told Rappler in a text message on Saturday.

It appears from the order that the information for 17 counts of estafa thru falsification of documents have not been filed yet.

But according to Section 17(c) of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, “any person in custody who is not yet charged in court may apply for bail with any court in the province, city, or municipality where he is held.”

This became Branch 6's legal basis in ordering Sy's release. The court works on a skeletal staff on Saturday.

Sy was indicted for 17 counts of estafa thru falsification of documents only on Friday, June 14.

"From what I understand, Mr Sy posted bail for only one count of the complex crime of estafa thru falsification of official documents. He is accused of having committed several counts of the offense," said Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said on Saturday.

He was arrested without a warrant by the NBI, but the Department of Justice (DOJ) has already ruled the warrantless arrest as valid albeit in a quite vague resolution citing a habeas corpus denial by a separate branch of the Manila RTC.

Sy faces the charges alongside 2 former Wellmed employees who acted as whistleblowers of the scandal. According to the whistleblowers’ lawyer Harry Roque, they need to be charged first before they turn government witnesses. –


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 or tweet @lianbuan.