Criminal raps filed vs. 21 PhilHealth officials over ghost claims

Marje Pelayo   •   August 28, 2019   •   884

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed criminal charges against 21 officials of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Wednesday (August 28).

All accused belong to PhilHealth’s accreditation division.

The complaint stemmed from the official’s alleged negligence of work and conspiracy which resulted in ghost claims at WellMed Dialysis Center, according to NBI Deputy Director for Investigation Service Vicente de Guzman III based on their initial investigation.

De Guzman said the center’s record revealed that claims were still processed using names of deceased patients.

Base sa imbestigasyon ng ating anti graft (unit), it appears na nagkaroon sila ng [sabwatan] (Based on the investigation of our anti-graft (unit), there was conspiracy) because they are given undue benefits out of the acts of the accreditation committee,” he said.

Atty. Ferdinand Razon, the NBI agent handling the case, said Wellmed was able to receive a total of P1.8 million worth of PhilHealth claims in between January and May 2019.

Investigation is ongoing to be able to identify other personalities involved in the scam, De Guzman said.

“We are still tracking that but we cannot categorically say na meron kaya po ang imbestigasyon ng NBI ay patuloy, (that there are [other people involved] that’s why our investigation is ongoing),” he noted.

“We want to establish kung mayroong (if there are) linkages itong mga (between the) health care providers with some officers of PhilHeath,” he added.

The concerned PhilHealth officials were charged for violation of the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, National Health Insurance Act of 2013 and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

In June this year, the state-owned insurance corporation filed a case against Wellmed Dialysis Center and its owner, Bryan Christopher Sy, over the said ghost claims. – MNP (with details from Lea Ylagan)

Negosyante at internet personality Francis Leo Marcos, hinuli ng NBI

Robie de Guzman   •   May 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Inaresto ng National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) ang negosyanteng si Francis Leo Marcos dahil sa umano’y paglabag sa optometry law.

Ayon sa NBI, hinuli si Marcos ngayong Martes kaugnay ng kinakaharap nitong kasong paglabag sa Republic Act 8050 o ang Revised Optometry Law sa Baguio City.

Dinakip ng NBI Cybercrime Division si Marcos sa bahay nito sa Quezon City sa bisa ng warrant of arrest na inilabas ng korte sa Baguio.

Taong 2010 pa umano naisampa ang reklamo at noong February 2018 lumabas ang warrant.

Wala pang inilalabas na detalye ang NBI ukol sa kaso ngunit ayon kay Marcos, nag-ugat umano ang reklamo sa pamamahagi niya ng libreng eyeglasses at pagsasagawa ng libreng checkup sa mata nang walang permiso mula sa Philippine Optometrist Association.

Bukod sa nasabing reklamo, sinabi ni NBI deputy director Atty. Ferdinand Lavin na nahaharap din si Marcos sa kasong paglabag sa Anti-Human Trafficking in Persons Act na isinampa noon pang 2006.

Nahaharap din ito sa kasong exploitation at paglabag sa Republic Act 9262 o ang Violation against Women and Children Law na isinampa naman sa Gapan, Nueva Ecija.

Dagdag pa ni Lavin na iniimbestigahan na rin nila ang totoong pangalan ni Marcos.

“Also we are in the process of investigating his true identity because we have been receiving reports that he had been named before as Norman Mangusin,” ani Lavin.

Pinabulaanan naman ni Marcos ang mga alegasyon laban sa kanya,.

“Talaga pong tayo’y napag-iinitan lang pero wala naman pong problema patutunayan natin sa korte yan lahat ng alegasyon na yan,” ani Marcos.

Bukod sa pagiging negosyante, isa ring internet personality si Marcos dahil sa kanyang videos sa YouTube channel na may mahigit isang milyong subscriber. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspendent Dante Amento)

NBI reiterates warning against purveyors of fake news

Robie de Guzman   •   April 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday reiterated its warning to prosecute those found spreading false information online relating to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

NBI Cybercrime Division Chief, Atty. Victor Lorenzo repeated the warning during an interview at UNTV’s Serbisyong Bayanihan program hosted by Daniel Razon, which tackles various concerns of the public amid the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.

During the program, a complainant named Carissa Ann Rodriguez, a resident of Barangay 591 in Manila asked for help after her neighbors posted false information along with her photo on Facebook, alleging that she is infected with coronavirus.

“Kahihiyan po talaga, kasi kumalat po eh, may picture po at may mukha po talaga buong picture ko po tapos ang nakalagay po kasi “mag-ingat sa taong ‘to pagala-gala nanghahawa, positive COVID-19 victim siya tumakas siya sa ospital,” she recounted.

She said she no longer ventures outside of her home as she was deeply embarrassed by the incident even if it was not true.

Lorenzo said the NBI has been receiving and investigating similar complaints as part of the government’s campaign against the spread of fake news, especially amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The NBI is going after misinformation online pursuant to Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code or the Unlawful Use of Means of Publication in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

The recently-signed Bayanihan to Heal as One Act also provides a fine of P1 million and up to 12 years imprisonment for purveyors of false information.

“Yung sa article 154 kasi publication ng false news ‘yun na may tendency to endanger public order tulad nyan pag sinabi mo na sa isang barangay may infected na talagang medyo magpa-panic yung mga tao doon sa barangay,” he said.

“At the same time, sa Bayanihan Act naman ay pwedeng may violation kasi yung publication ng fake news nagkakaroon ng chaos at the same time disturbance sa public,” he added.

Through UNTV’s Serbisyong Bayanihan program, Carissa was able to file a complaint against those who spread misinformation against her.

Lorenzo said other victims of false information on social media platforms may also lodge their complaint to the NBI via its online channels as they encourage social distancing amid the COVID-19 crisis.

“Because of the incident now yung crisis natin ina-avoid natin yung contact, pinapayagan namin sila mag-file ng formal request for investigative assistance,” he said.

“Kung kailangan talaga makipag-coordinate sa amin ang Facebook o kami ang makipag-coordinate sa Facebook, at least official yung communication namin sa kanila,” he added.

Lorenzo also called on others who became a subject of fake news to come forward and file a complaint to help authorities stop the deliberate spread of misinformation amid the public health crisis. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Grace Casin)

Senate leader says local officials without offenses are under DILG, not DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   April 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Thursday said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), not the Justice Department, has jurisdiction over local government officials who did not violate any law.

“If a local official has not violated any law, the DILG is the Department that has jurisdiction over him. Not the DOJ!” Sotto wrote on his Twitter account.

Sotto made the remark in response to the move of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which is under the DOJ, to summon Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto for allegedly violating the provisions of the Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Law.

The NBI accused the mayor of disobeying the national government’s order to suspend public transportation during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine when he allowed tricycles to operate in his jurisdiction.

Mayor Sotto earlier stressed that he already lifted his order allowing tricycle operation to ferry medical workers in his city before the Bayanihan law was passed on March 24.

The Senate President, one of the principal proponents of the Bayanihan Act, also said the law cannot be applied retroactively.

“NBI will be well advised to be cautious in their interpretation of the law I principally authored. Any so-called violation of RA 11469 can’t be retroactive!” he said.

“What are they talking about? Laws are never retroactive if detrimental to any accused,” he added.

The elder Sotto is Mayor Vico’s uncle.



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