WellMed official in NBI custody amid 'ghost' kidney treatment issue
WellMed Dialysis Center in Quezon City is under investigation as President Duterte ordered the arrest of the owners of the private clinic for allegedly making fraudulent PhilHealth claims.
The STAR/Boy Santos
WellMed official in NBI custody amid 'ghost' kidney treatment issue
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - June 10, 2019 - 6:14pm

MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation on Monday took an official of WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center into custody as it continues to look into allegations that Philippine Health Insurance Corp. funds were used for non-existent kidney treatments.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed to Philstar.com that a WellMed official is currently being held for inquest purposes. During an inquest, prosecutors determine whether there is probable cause to charge someone in court.

The STAR reported that Brian Sy, one of the owneres of the dialysis center is being detained at the bureau’s headquarters after the agency found “probable cause” to do so.

"The NBI will have to explain the factual and legal basis for their action during the inquest," Guevarra added.

The issue stemmed from a Philippine Daily Inquirer report that stated that PhilHealth continued paying for dialysis treatments of a patient who died in 2106.

Edwin Roberto, a former employee of WellMed, said the dialysis center continued filing claims for the dead patient’s sessions.

Duterte orders arrest

President Rodrigo Duterte, on Saturday, said he wanted the owners of WellMed arrested for making “fraudulent claims.”

“Arrest them and investigate them right away. No ifs, no buts... If a lawyer attempts to interfere, tell him it’s my order,” the president said in an interview with Sonshine Media Network.

Generally, only courts can issue warrants of arrest.

The STAR reported that, earlier Monday, Roberto and PhilHealth official Liezel Santos presented themselves to the NBI as the agency looked into the alleged “ghost” kidney treatments.

PhilHealth officials told to resign, Go says

Duterte has also called for the resignation of Philippine Health Insurance Corp. officials amid the reports of “ghost” kidney dialysis treatments, a former presidential aid who has been elected to the Senate said.

News5 quoted Senator-elect Christopher “Bong” Go as saying that Duterte told PhilHealth president Roy Ferrer and the agency’s board members to submit courtesy resignations. It is unclear why the announcement was coursed through Go instead of presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Go said that Duterte is meeting with PhilHealth officials on Monday afternoon and hear their side on the matter.

He also said that he would try to ask the president to “revamp” the agency.

“Not only the board members but also regional vice presidents that are at war against each other which affected PhilHealth’s services,” Go added in a mix of English and Filipino. — with reports from News5/Meanne Los Baños

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