Criminal raps filed vs. 21 PhilHealth officials over ghost claims

Marje Pelayo   •   August 28, 2019   •   615

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)

Duterte orders NBI to take over Clarin town mayor David Navarro’s slay case

Marje Pelayo   •   October 29, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to stop its investigation on Clarin-Misamis Occidental Mayor David Navarro’s slay case.

Navarro was ambushed by armed men on his way to Cebu City Prosecutor’s office on board a police patrol car on October 25 for inquest proceedings on charges of alleged sexual assault.

He was on Duterte’s drug watchlist of narco-politicians.

The President said he wanted an impartial investigation that is why he ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to handle the case instead.

Navarro was under police custody when the crime happened.

Mas gusto ko ang NBI na lang…kasi noong nangyari iyan, kasama ang pulis (I prefer that the NBI [conduct the investigation] because when the incident happened, the police were there),” Duterte said.

“To make it really fair, I’d like to order the police to terminate their investigations and hand it to the NBI whatever documents and all proof or evidence that they have in their hands,” he added.

The Chief Executive said he had a conversation with Navarro several weeks before the ambush where the local official admitted to receiving death threats.

The PNP, for its part, assured that it is ready to heed the President’s order while the Department of Justice (DOJ) welcomes the President’s decision.

“Given the circumstances surrounding the killing of Clarin Mayor Navarro, the President’s directive for the NBI to take over the investigation of the incident should quell any doubts regarding this government’s commitment to solve the case and bring to account those responsible,” concluded DOJ Spokesperson Mark Perete. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

NCRPO forms quad-intel force to intensify fight against illegal drugs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 27, 2019

Chief NCRPO, PMGEN GUILLERMO LORENZO T ELEAZAR spearheaded the meeting with NCRPO “QUAD-INTEL FORCE” AGAINST ILLEGAL DRUGS followed by a press/media briefing this 27th day of September 2019 at NCRPO Conference Room, Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City. (Courtesy: NCRPO PIO)

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has formed a quad-intel force to intensify the campaign against illegal drugs.

The NCR quad-intel force is composed of the NCRPO, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) – Joint Task Force (JTF).

“We are all here to show a united agency in the campaign against illegal drugs by forming the first-ever formal alliance of the PDEA-NCR, NCRPO, NBI-NCR and the JTF-NCR to run after the scalawags in our rank,” the group said.

NCRPO Director Police Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the ‘ninja cops’ controversy have prompted them to form the squad.

“This is a part of lessons that we have learned na mas maganda talaga na coordinated tayo sa simula pa lamang, (it is better to be coordinated from the start),” he said.

Eleazar is also calling out to the public to immediately report to authorities if they have information about police officers involved in illegal drugs.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

DOJ orders NBI to probe alleged ‘hospital pass for sale’ at Bilibid

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe the purported “hospital pass for sale” to inmates of the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP), the latest in a series of alleged anomalies in the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in recent weeks.

In the Department Order No. 479 dated Sept. 9, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered the NBI to look into and conduct case build-up on the alleged illegal practice of transferring inmates to the NBP hospital in exchange for money.

“The NBI, through Director Dante A. Gierran, is hereby directed and granted authority to conduct an investigation and case build-up on the alleged illegal practice of transferring Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL) to the New Bilibid Prison Hospital monetary consideration,” Guevarra said in his order.

“If evidence warrants, to file the appropriate charges against persons found responsible therefor,” he added.

Guevarra cited the provisions of Republic Act No. 10867 or the National Bureau of Investigation Reorganization and Modernization Act which authorizes the Secretary of Justice to direct the NBI to undertake the investigation of any crime in the interest of the service and interest of the public.

The DOJ also directed the NBI to submit reports on the process of the investigation and case build-up.

The “hospital pass for sale” was revealed after witnesses said that moneyed inmates could get hospital referrals and other prison benefits from BuCor officials on the basis of tampered medical record that would make it appear that they need to be transferred to less congested facilities for health reasons.

The issue came on the heels of alleged sale of good conduct credits to convicts using the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law, which hounded the BuCor since news on convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez’s possible release for good behavior broke out.

BuCor data revealed that around 1,914 convicts of heinous crimes have been released since the law’s enactment in 2013.

The issue led to the dismissal of Nicanor Faeldon as BuCor chief by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Around 27 BuCor personnel were also ordered suspended without pay by the Office of the Ombudsman for gross misconduct and gross neglect of duty over the release of convicts.  

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