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NBI starts probe into alleged ‘ghost dialysis’ scam

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has started its probe into an alleged scam involving a healthcare provider supposedly claiming deceased patients' PhilHealth benefits.

Bryan Sy, one of the owners of WellMed Dialysis Center, and the couple who blew the whistle on the alleged "ghost dialysis" scheme showed up at the bureau's headquarters Monday afternoon for questioning.

Edwin Roberto and Liezel Santos, who both used to work at WellMed as assistant manager and PhilHealth officer and cashier, respectively, told reporters Monday that they have evidence to present to the NBI to back up their claims.

They recently alleged they processed dead patients' claims from the government-owned PhilHealth on orders from WellMed owners. In response, WellMed accused its two former employees of conniving with each other to carry out the fraudulent scheme.

Interviewed on Monday, Roberto and Santos repeated their claims and said they received death threats from Bryan Sy, one of WellMed's owners, over "personal" matters unrelated to the "ghost dialysis" scam.

Santos also said she was told forge documents to process the claims of deceased patients. Both said they were not paid extra for the allegedly fraudulent work.

They said they are willing to be placed under witness protection.

Meanwhile, Rowell Ilagan, Sy's lawyer, said Sy appeared at the NBI in compliance with a subpoena. The lawyer said they are willing to cooperate in the NBI probe, like he said they did in a prior PhilHealth investigation into the same scheme.

Repeating WellMed's earlier claim, Ilagan said Roberto and Santos were behind the act. He said the two reversed the story when they were found out and ordered to explain the alleged anomaly.

"Nag-send out kami ng demand letters January of 2019 requiring them to explain the irregularities that we found out, and because of this siguro natakot na marami kaming demand letters, kaya siguro binaligtad nila 'yung kwento," the lawyer said.

Their being live-in partners shows their "connivance and conspiracy," he said.

Ilagan said WellMed has witnesses to testify on "arrangements" they had with the two former employees.

"They're willing to testify and they're executing their affidavits. Later on 'pag nagkaroon na ng full-blown investigation we will file the necessary evidence," he said. — BM, GMA News