Criminal raps filed vs. 21 PhilHealth officials over ghost claims
Marje Pelayo • August 28, 2019 • 1159
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)
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday said it has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the case of a Manila court judge who was killed inside her office last Wednesday.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the NBI will probe “all possible angles and motives” and “make recommendations to the supreme court on improving security measures in all halls of justice, court rooms, and premises.”
Judge Maria Teresa Abadilla of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 45 was shot inside her chamber by her clerk of court, Atty. Amador Rebato, who allegedly shot himself during the incident.
She was rushed to a hospital but was declared dead.
“Though Judge Abadilla’s death appears to have arisen from an internal issue with her clerk of court, I have, nonetheless, directed the NBI to conduct a parallel probe considering that the incident has implications on the personal security of our judges and justices,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters.
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, welcomed Guevarra’s move.
“Pwede naman talaga investigate yung NBI because a crime has been committed. But we are also investigating and reviewing court policies,” Court Administrator Midas Marquez said.
He added that Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta has ordered the implementation of stricter measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring.
“The passing of Judge Abadilla is indeed a big loss to the judiciary because I personally know her to be an upright and highly competent magistrate,” Peralta said in a statement on Wednesday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento
MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed graft and extortion complaints against its official and his brother from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) over the alleged ‘pastillas scheme.’
Atty. Joshua Paul Capiral, NBI’s legal assistance chief, and his brother, Christopher John, an officer at the BI’s medical section, underwent inquest proceedings at the Department of Justice on Wednesday morning.
The brothers are facing extortion complaints under the Revised Penal Code, and violation of the Anti-Graft Practices Act, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and the Executive Order No. 608 which established the national security clearance system for government personnel with access to classified matters.
The two were arrested in an entrapment operation on Monday night for allegedly receiving bribes from individuals implicated in the pastillas scheme in exchange for exclusion from the charges.
Nineteen Immigration officers allegedly linked to the pastillas scheme are currently facing charges filed by the NBI at the Office of the Ombudsman last month.
The modus was called pastillas, derived from a Filipino sweet and sticky dessert, because the bribe money that some personnel receive were wrapped in paper.
The scheme allegedly takes advantage of Chinese casino high-rollers and offshore gaming workers who wish to be escorted to dodge the immigration screening process for a fee.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he has ordered a reinvestigation into the pastillas scheme.
“Considering that the NBI investigation appeared to have been tainted, I will order a reinvestigation of the so-called ‘pastillas’ racket involving some unscrupulous BI employees,” he said in message to reporters.
Meanwhile, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente welcomed the development and assured support for the drive to cleanse the agency of corruption.
Morente also vowed to continue its campaign against corruption activities within the agency.
“We will continue to pursue our campaign against BI personnel engaged in corrupt activities in coordination with NBI and other law enforcement agencies in support of President Duterte’s desire to cleanse the agency,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)
MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Frankiln Drilon on Wednesday urged the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to file a disbarment case against its official who was arrested for his alleged involvement in the ‘pastillas scheme’ in the Bureau of Immigration.
Drilon made the call following the arrest of Atty. Joshua Capiral, NBI’s head of legal assistance division, for allegedly accepting bribes from persons involved in the modus in exchange for exclusion from charges.
“Bantay salakay ang tawag dito. Yung inatasan na mag-imbestiga sa katiwalian sila yung gumagawa ng katiwalian,” he said in an interview over Teleradyo.
“He is a disgrace to the legal profession. We lawyers took an oath to tell nothing but the truth. Capiral violated that sacred oath of lawyers. All he did in the NBI is to enrich himself through corruption,” he added.
When asked whether the case of Capiral warrants a Senate investigation, Drilon said he will support an investigation if there is evidence of massive corruption in NBI – like in the case of PhilHealth and the Bureau of Immigration.
“At this point I think there is no evidence of massive corruption in the NBI. This is a laudable move for the NBI to arrest one of its members. The NBI should make an example out of Capiral that corruption has no place in the agency,” Drilon said.
“If we do not address this, everybody will believe that they can bribe the NBI and having that perception is not good in the fight against corruption,” he added.
Capiral was nabbed in an entrapment operation on Monday night. He underwent inquest proceedings at the Department of Justice on Wednesday morning.
The two are facing complaints for extortion under the Revised Penal Code and violation of the Anti-Graft Practices Act, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employee, and Executive Order No. 608 which established a national security clearance system for government personnel with access to classified matters.
Drilon said that Capiral’s case is among the reasons why the public tend to lose confidence in the government’s ability to stop corruption.
“This is one of the reasons why Filipinos are losing faith in the ability of the government to fight corruption. This only shows how rampant corruption is today,” he said.
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