Composite teams given 30 days to further probe PhilHealth mess – DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2020   •   352

MANILA, Philippines – The composite teams conducting investigation into the allegations of corruption within the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) have been given 30 days to further probe the issue, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Wednesday.

In a statement, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said they will ask the teams to finish their investigations into PhilHealth’s IT and legal sectors in a month.

“Then we’ll prepare the complaints if there’s enough evidentiary basis,” he added.

The composite teams consist of members from the DOJ, National Bureau of Investigation, Anti-Corruption Commission, Anti-Money Laundering Council, and Office of the Special Assistant to the President, with the help of the Commission on Audit.

Guevarra said the timeline will begin when recently-installed PhilHealth president and CEO Atty. Dante Gierran formally assumes his post after he takes his oath on Wednesday.

The Task Force PhilHealth led by Guevarra already handed its probe results to President Rodrigo Duterte last Monday.

The report contained findings into the thousands of unfiled cases against erring PhilHealth employees and health care institutions, as well as recommendations on the filing of complaints against several officials of the agency, including its former chief Ricardo Morales.

Some lawmakers have expressed dismay over the exclusion of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who sits as PhilHealth chairman by virtue of his position, from the list of officials liable for the PhilHealth mess.

But Guevarra earlier stressed that other officials were spared from the list because the investigation is still ongoing.

Meanwhile, the camp of Morales assured that the former PhilHealth chief is ready to face the complaints relating to issues hounding the state insurer.

They also maintained that Morales had no hand in the alleged corruption within the agency.

“Our client is a man of integrity and completely denies any wrongdoings and the criminal charges against him,” Atty. Arnedo Valera, Morales’ legal spokesperson, said.

“His attorneys… will vigorously defend Gen. Morales and will appropriately respond to the criminal complaints either before the Department of Justice and or before the Ombudsman,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

DOJ issues hold departure order vs nine cops in Jolo shooting

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a hold departure order against the nine policemen involved in the shooting of four army personnel in Jolo, Sulu.

In a statement, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra has ordered prosecutors to file a motion in the court for a hold departure order against the policemen accused of killing the four army personnel in Jolo, Sulu last June 2020.

The order was issued after the Philippine National Police (PNP) released the said cops after being dismissed from service.

“The DOJ prosecutors filed the criminal information against the 9 police officers last January 4. The court was supposed to issue the warrants of arrest thereafter, but apparently failed to do so because of the current lockdown in Sulu,” he said.

Guevarra, meanwhile, hopes the accused would voluntarily turn themselves in once the warrants are issued.

“We hope that the 9 accused will voluntarily turn themselves in when such warrants are eventually released by the court. Otherwise, law enforcement agents will look for them and take them into custody,” Guevarra said. -AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

DOJ may issue travel alert order vs suspects in Dacera rape-slay

Robie de Guzman   •   January 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday said it may issue a travel alert order against the suspects in the rape-slay case of 23-year-old flight attendant Christine Angelica Dacera.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the travel alert will be issued as soon as appropriate charges have been filed with the prosecutor’s office.

“For now we’ll let the PNP (Philippine National Police) handle the case. As soon as the police file a complaint with the prosecutor’s office, we may issue a travel alert order to the BI,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters.

Three persons tagged in the killing have been placed under police custody while other suspects remain at large.

Police said the three have been charged with rape and homicide.

A manhunt operation will also be launched against nine other people who were present in the party before Dacera was found dead.

Police initial investigation showed that Dacera was invited to a party with some friends at the City Garden Hotel in Makati City on December 31.

It was also learned that other than Dacera and her friends, other people were also present in the party.

She was found lifeless in a bathtub in the hotel around noontime on January 1.

Police said that while Dacera suffered from aneurysm, investigators found laceration and bruises on her body, and other markings that indicate sexual contact.

The final autopsy report is expected to be released soon. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

DOJ indicts 9 cops involved in Jolo shooting

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 4, 2021

The Departmet of Justice (DOJ) has found probable cause to indict the nine cops involve in shooting the four military men in Jolo, Sulu last June 29, 2020.

The Justice Department has recommended the filing of charges against PSMS. Abdelzhimar Padjiri, PMSg. Hanie Baddiri, PSSg. Iskandar Susulan, PSSg. Ernisar Sappal, PCpl. Sulki Andaki, Pat. Moh Nur Pasani, PSSg. Admudzrin Hadjaruddin, Pat. Alkajal Mandangan, and Pat. Rajiv Putalan with four counts of murder over the killing of four members of the Philippine Army.

“I understand that the accused police officers have been dismissed from the service, so the court should immediately obtain jurisdiction over their person, lest they be able to flee,” according to DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Meanwhile, the DOJ has also recommended the dismissal of the three Sulu Police officials PCol. Michael Bayawan, Jr., PMaj. Walter Annayo and PCapt. Ariel Corcino for command responsibility. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

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