WellMed lawyer denies 'ghost claims' with PhilHealth

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 13 2019 10:52 PM

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MANILA – The lawyer of detained co-owner of a dialysis center implicated in a “ghost PhilHealth claims” scam has questioned the document that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) used in justifying the warrantless arrest of his client.

Lawyer Rowell Ilagan, counsel for businessman Dr. Bryan Sy, refuted the NBI’s claim that WellMed Dialysis Center is still making ghost claims with PhilHealth, which supposedly justified his warrantless arrest on Monday while he was attending an NBI probe.

The NBI in a press conference Thursday said they relied on a PhilHealth certification.

“Actually we have a certification from PhilHealth clarifying that as of June 7, there are still claims being submitted by WellMed for reimbursement of expenses borne by patients,” lawyer Marlon Tauli, executive officer of the NBI Anti-Graft Division, said.

“As far as PhilHealth is concerned, these are considered as still ghost claims. We rely on the certification,” he said.

However, a copy of the PhilHealth certification obtained by the media is silent on the so-called ghost claims. It merely listed 16 claims by WellMed from PhilHealth from May to June 2019.

Because of the existing alleged fraudulent claims, the NBI claimed Sy’s arrest could be considered a valid warrantless arrest for estafa and falsification of public documents.

“To us, (it’s) as if the crime is still being committed,” NBI Spokesperson Atty. Ferdinand Lavin said.

But Ilagan is pushing back.

“The patients included in the certification are all alive,” he said in a text message to ABS-CBN News.

Sy’s camp earlier tried but failed to question the validity of his arrest.

On Tuesday, Sy’s wife filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus before a Manila court, which the court denied saying a writ of habeas corpus could not be issued on the basis of an invalid warrantless arrest.
Citing this ruling, a Department of Justice prosecutor on the same day also rejected Sy’s contention that he was not validly arrested.

The Department of Justice is expected to rule on Friday if there is probable cause to charge Sy and 9 others in court for the alleged PhilHealth payments to dead patients amounting to at least P800,000.