Guevarra: 'Whistleblowers' in WellMed case may apply for witness protection
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
Guevarra: 'Whistleblowers' in WellMed case may apply for witness protection
Kristine Joy Patag ( - June 12, 2019 - 4:55pm

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Wednesday that the two “whistleblowers” in the alleged money-making scheme using government funds for non-existent kidney treatments may apply to the Witness Protection Program.

In a message to reporters, Guevarra said that former WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center employee Edwin Roberto and Philippine Health Insurance Corp. official Liezel de Leon may be placed under the WPP.

“Nothing prevents the so-called whistleblowers from applying for WPP cover, but their application will be carefully evaluated, particularly in light of the fact that they themselves have been included in the NBI’s complaint,” he added.

The WPP is a program under the Justice department and created through Republic Act 6981, "to encourage a person who has witnessed or has knowledge of the commission of a crime to testify before a court or a quasi-judicial body, or before an investigating authority, by protecting him from reprisals and from economic dislocation."

Lawyer Harry Roque, a former spokesperson of the Malacañang, earlier urged the DOJ to “expedite” the WPP application of the two.

In an interview with ANC, Roque said: “I’m asking the DOJ to expedite the process of provisional admission into the WPP. You’ll only become a part of the [WPP] if you took part in the scam itself.”

Guevarra said that Roque, who represents the two, have yet to apply for the program but Roque has asked about it.

Estafa, falsification raps

The National Bureau of Investigation filed estafa and falsification of documents complaints against the two and eight people from WellMed.

READ: NBI files estafa, falsification raps over fraudulent kidney treatments

Roberto, De Leon and WellMed owner Brian Sy went through an inquest proceeding at the DOJ late Tuesday afternoon.

The inquest prosecutor, according to news reports, deemed the complaint submitted for resolution.

"The DOJ inquest prosecutor will resolve the complaint in due time and determine who will be indicted in court," Guevarra said.

"Until then, it’s premature to discuss WPP coverage," he added.

According to the DOJ website explaining WPP, "an accused [someone who has been charged in court] who is discharged from an information or criminal complaint by the court in order" may be placed under the program.

RELATED: Duterte tells PhilHealth execs: Resign

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