NBI begins probe into alleged ‘ghost claims’ filed by dialysis center

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 10, 2019   •   1214

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has begun investigation into alleged ‘ghost claims’ at the WellMed Dialysis Center in Quezon City.

Several officials of WellMed Dialysis Center, including their lawyers went to the NBI office on Monday (June 10) to explain their side of the issue.

This was after receiving a subpoena for the alleged ‘ghost claims’ at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

Rowell Ilagan, one of the owner’s lawyers, said that the whistle blowers Edwin Roberto and Liezel Santos were the ones doing the anomalies.

“Nag-send out kami ng demand letters (We sent out demand letters) January of 2019 requiring them to explain the irregularities that we found out, and because of this siguro natakot na marami kaming demand letters, kaya siguro binaligtad nila iyong kwento, (maybe they got scared so they flipped the story),” he said.

However, Roberto and Santos both denied Ilagan’s claims. WellMed’s camp is also prepared to file charges against the two.

Meanwhile, the NBI has already arrested one of the owners, Bryan Sy, for estafa, falsification of documents and violation of PhilHealth laws.(with reports from April Cenedoza)

2 National Museum officials arrested for extortion

Maris Federez   •   August 20, 2019

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) have arrested two high-ranking officials of the National Museum.

The two were involved in extortion in exchange of permits issued by the agency, particularly on treasure hunting.

According to the PACC, the two officials had been extorting money from the complainant who has a pending application for treasure hunting permit at the agency.

The two were asking for P120,000 from the applicant for a permit that only costs P3,000.

“So pumunta sa amin iyong complainant then we set up this entrapment operations with the NBI.  Malaki hong halaga iyan for these permits dahil legal fees hindi naman aabot yan ng ganoon kalaki,” said PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica.

The two were identified as Ernesto Toribio Jr, chief of the National Museum Treasure Hunting Section, and Angel Toribio, acting Director and Curator II of the museum’s Cultural Properties Division.

The PACC believes that there is a possibility that extortion has already become rampant at the National Museum as there are no clear guidelines on the process of application permits such as in treasure hunting.

With this, the PACC is urging the National Museum administration to streamline its requirements for permit applications.

PACC will file bribery, extortion, and conspiracy against the two officials. (with details from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

NBI nabs De Lima co-accused in Pampanga

Marje Pelayo   •   August 16, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Friday (August 16) arrested one of Senator Leila de Lima’s co-accused in the illegal drug case.

Around 5:30 am on Friday, NBI operatives nabbed Jose Drian ‘Jad’ Dera in Angeles, Pampanga.

Dera has been hiding for two years since a warrant of arrest was issued against him.

De Lima and Dera were both accused in the two cases of alleged conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading in the ongoing trial at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branches 205 and 256.

Dera is De Lima’s nephew and former staff when she was then Justice Secretary.

Dera allegedly served as De Lima’s middleman in receiving P70-M cash from drug lords inside the New Bilibid Prisons as well as in the alleged extortion of P30-M and four vehicles from high-profile inmate Peter Co.

The lady senator, in her statement in March 2017, denied any blood links with Dera.

Dera, meanwhile, also denied being a relative of De Lima.

Privatization, case rate payment scheme removal, recommended amid PhilHealth anomaly issue

Maris Federez   •   August 14, 2019

Senator Franklin Drilon at Wednesday’s (August 13) hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee expressed concern on the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s ability to pay its members the necessary claims and benefits in the next ten years.

“I do not know how to sustain these in the next 10 years if you keep on incurring a net operating cost. At the end of the day, you might see a collapsing Philhealth,” Drilon said.

This is after the Commission on Audit (COA) released its report of the state insurance’s yearly net operating loss that has now reached billions of pesos.

To which Philhealth vice president for Data Protection, Nerissa Santiago answered: “Those were the years that we increased the benefits without the increase in premiums.”

Other senators were also alarmed by the alleged anomaly and corruption in the agency, including overpayment and ghost dialysis patients.

With this, former Department of Health (DOH) secretary and now Iloilo representative Janette Garin recommended the abolition of the case rate payment scheme and the privatization of some of the operations of the state insurance.

This, she said, will help eradicate corruption.

“Scrap the case rate case. Push through with the individual membership on smaller premium para mawala po ang [so that we will eliminate] ghost members,” Garin said. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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