'Sabotage' of PhilHealth probe evidence feared

August 23, 2020

JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered over the weekend the National Bureau of Investigation to protect evidence involving allegations of massive corruption inside the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.

Guevarra issued the statement following reports that rain-water leaks on the roof of the PhilHealth Ilocos Region office may have destroyed important documents.

Several senators expressed fear that the roof damage may have been deliberately done to destroy evidence of massive fraud within PhilHealth, which is now the subject of an investigation by a government task force.

"I instructed the NBI to immediately take measures to protect and preserve official records of all PhilHealth regional offices, considering that these are public documents," Guevarra said.

Last Friday, NBI Officer-In-Charge Eric Distor on Friday required regional offices to be on alert for possible destruction of evidence

“Pinabantayan na namin yung mga offices ng PhilHealth para maiwasan baka may mga possible destruction ng mga evidence, " Distor said.

“May mga rumors na may ebidensya silang sisirain. So immediately nag-order tayo, ” he said.

The NBI created a task force that will investigate the alleged multi-billion peso corruption in PhilHealth.

Distor recently issued a memorandum order creating the task force, audit of the PhilHealth finances, and the conduct of lifestyle checks on its officials and employees.

He said the task force will be composed of agents and investigators from the Bureau's Anti-Graft Division (AGD), Anti-Fraud Division (AFD), Special Action Unit (SAU), Computer Crimes Division (CCD), Special Operations Group (SOG) and Digital Forensic Laboratory (DFL).

The task force shall be headed by NBI-NCR Regional Director Cesar Bacani and shall be under the supervision of Deputy Director for Regional Operations Service (DDROS) Antonio Pagatpat to be assisted by Deputy Director for Investigation Service (DDInvS) Vicente De Guzman III.  

In 2019, the NBI conducted an investigation on PhilHealth regarding the ghost dialysis fees involving WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center Corporation (WellMed) and Philhealth.

The investigation revealed that WellMed charges PhilHealth for dialysis claims of patient-members who are already dead. As a result of its investigation, the NBI recommended the prosecution of WellMed and PhilHealth officials for collusion in the use of falsified documents to collect payments from PhilHealth for alleged dialysis of patients-members who are already dead.