NBI releases owner of clinic tagged in dialysis scam

Maris Federez   •   June 17, 2019   •   2085

Dr. Bryan Sy, co-owner of WellMed Dialysis Center

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Sunday (June 16) released the co-owner of a dialysis center in Quezon City after being in detention for 6 days in connection with alleged fraudulent claims, his lawyer, Rowell Ilagan, said.

Dr. Bryan Sy, co-owner of WellMed Dialysis Center, was arrested on Monday (10) for allegedly ordering former employees to make claims for dialysis treatment from state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) on behalf of patients who had already died.

A Manila court on Saturday (June 15) ordered Sy’s release after his camp posted a P72,000 bail.

He was not, however, released immediately due to the absence of signatories from the NBI, said his lawyer.

Ilagan said Sy had to wait one more day and walked free from detention around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

The Department of Justice indicted Sy on June 14, along with former employees Edwin Roberto and Leizel Aileen de Leon, for estafa through falsification of official documents.

Roberto and De Leon jointly bared the alleged WellMed racket, revealing that it made P800,000 in ghost PhilHealth claims from 2016 to 2018.

WellMed lawyer, however, denied the ‘ghost claims’ with PhilHealth.

They wrote DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra and NBI Director Dante Gierran on Thursday to demand Sy’s release because his detention had exceeded 36 hours.

Under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, authorities have a maximum of 36 hours to detain a suspect without filing any charge in court. /mbmf

PhilHealth CEO denies irregularities in agency’s IT System budget

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 4, 2020

PhilHealth CEO and President Ricardo Morales on Tuesday (August 4) denied the irregularity allegations in the agency’s budget for its IT system.

“I think it is a matter of explaining fully to the members of the board the details of the IT system because the information system is very complicated,” he said.

PhilHealth Board Member Alejandro Cabading revealed that the IT Resources in the proposed 2020 IT Budget of PhilHealth reached P734 million. However, this was not approved by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for the Information Systems Strategic Plan of PhilHealth.

The Internal Audit Report also showed there are overpriced software that have been numerously purchased. An Adobe Master Software Collection, for example, is originally worth P168,000 but cost P21,000,000 in the proposed 2020 National Budget of PhilHealth.

Cabading also expressed dismay over the inaction of the Executive Committee regarding the said Internal Audit Report of the Commission on Audit (COA).

“This is part of trying to cleanse PhilHealth. Bakit hindi niyo ba maintindihan iyan? Ang tagal niyo na diyan. Hindi niyo prinepresent iyong COA audit if you are not being asked to? Tapos hindi kayo nagbibgay ng financial analysis, (Why can’t you understand that? You are not presenting the COA audit if you are not being asked to? You also have not provided any financial analysis)” he said.

Morales, however, said there are no irregularities since PhilHealth’s information database needs to be boosted which explains the P2.1 billion proposed budget. Boosting the agency’s database would also prevent any fraudulent schemes.

“Hindi po niyan maiiwasan na dapat ayusin ang information system kung gustong mabawasan significantly iyong fraud at saka iyong inefficiencies sa PhilHealth po, (Fixing the information system cannot be avoided if we want to lessen fraud by a significant amount, this also includes the inefficiencies in PhilHealth)” Morales said. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Senate eyeing to start probe on alleged PhilHealth corruption next week

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate is looking to start next week its investigation into the alleged anomalies within the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier filed Senate Resolution No. 475 urging the upper chamber to convene as a Committee of the Whole to look into the alleged widespread corruption, incompetence, and inefficiency that may lead to the financial collapse of the state-run health insurance agency.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the chamber will constitute as a Committee of the Whole because the scope of the probe is “too wide.”

“Hindi lang tungkol sa health, hindi lang tungkol sa PhilHealth, hindi lang tungkol sa violations at investigations of public officials,” Sotto said in an online press conference.


Under Senate rules, all senators are given voting rights on issues during the legislative hearing once the chamber convenes as a Committee of the Whole.

Sotto said around four to five witnesses are expected to appear in the hearing to provide evidence on alleged irregularities in the agency.

The probe comes after PhilHealth officer, Atty. Thorrson Montes Keith resigned from his post due to supposed rampant corruption in the agency. He also cited the “unconstitutional” mandatory payment of Philhealth for overseas workers as among the reasons for his resignation.

Despite the allegations, Philhealth President and Chief Executive Officer General Ricardo Morales still continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of President Rodrigo Duterte according to Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Duterte wants probe on alleged PhilHealth anomaly

Marje Pelayo   •   July 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte wants an immediate investigation on the reported corruption inside the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that the matter has come to the attention of the President, thus he ordered concerned authorities to investigate particularly the P2B-worth of “overpriced” IT purchases.

“Nag-i-imbestiga na po ang kinauukulan, pinakinggan po ang lahat at ang naging conclusion ay isang maigting na imbestigasyon ang gagawin, at least dito sa isyu ng IT purchase (All concerned are already investigating. Everyone involved has been heard and the conclusion was to conduct a thorough investigation, at least on the issue of IT purchases,” Roque said. 

Also, Roque encouraged Thorrsson Montes Keith who resigned from his position as the agency’s anti-fraud legal officer due to alleged irregularities in PhilHealth, to cooperate in the investigation. 

“Ang aking conclusion diyan talaga may sindikato talaga at ito po iyong pinakamatataas na career executives diyan sa PhilHealth (My conclusion to that is that there is a syndicate [in the agency] and they are the high-ranking career executives),” Roque said. 

PhilHealth president, retired General Ricardo Morales, for his part, denies allegations of corruption within the agency.

He even dared Keith to present his evidence to prove his claims. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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