Doc denies links to anomalous PhilHealth claims in Koronadal
MANILA, Philippines — A neurologist denied Wednesday claims lodged against him by a lawmaker on his alleged involvement in the anomalous Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) claims in Koronadal City.
Dr. Mark Dennis Menguita appeared before the joint House committee of public accounts and the committee on good government and public accountability to counter the allegations made earlier by Ang Magsasaka Rep. Argel Cabatbat.
Cabatbat earlier claimed that Menguita would make “false diagnosis” of patients so that he could get higher claims from PhilHealth.
“Sa mga nagdaang mga araw, laging naririnig ang pangalan ko. At ang lahat ng mga pile-ups of lies, fabricated stories, at tsaka personal na atake sa akin ng congressman ng Magsasaka Partylist,” Menguita said.
(These past few days, my name is being implicated. And all of these pileups of lies, fabricated stories and personal attacks against me by the congressman from Magsasaka Party-list.)
“Isa lang ang kailangan kong mapatunayan na lahat ng ibinintang sa akin ay pawang kasinungalingan ng congressman ng Magsasaka Partylist… Ngayon, sa lahat ng akusasyon sa akin ni Congressman Cabatbat, dine-deny ko ang lahat ng mga ito,” he added.
(All I can prove is that all of these accusations against me are pure lies by the congressman from Magsasaka Party-list… Now, all of the accusations hurled against me by Congressman Cabatbat I am denying all of these.)
An emotional Menguita further said he is “innocent” and claimed to be a “victim of harassment.”
“Pinaikot-ikot nya ang mga petsa ng mga pangyayari. Pilit niya akong dinudugtong na myembro ako ng mafia,” Menguita said.
(He is messing the dates of the incidents. He is forcibly connecting myself as a member of the mafia.)
Menguita claimed that in 2014, a friend of Cabatbat was harassing him over jealousy.
“Pinagkamalan po nya na ako raw po ay may relasyon sa asawa ng kanyang kaibigan. Kaya sa 2015 po, sunud-sunod po na kaso ang finile nila sa akin. Mga bogus na complainant,” Menguita said.
(He accused me of having an affair with the wife of his friend. That is why in 2015, they filed a series of cases against me. Coming from bogus complainants.)
Later in the hearing, House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante asked if resource speakers allowed to accuse lawmakers in committee hearings.
Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor, who chairs the committee on public accounts, said this is technically not allowed since the hearings are held in aid of legislation.
“Hindi sila pwedeng mag-reply in that manner because that would be in contempt not only of the member of the committee but of the entire committee,” Defensor said.
(They are not allowed to reply in that manner because that would be in contempt not only of the member of the committee but of the entire committee.)
Abante then moved to cite Menguita in contempt over the accusations he made against Cabatbat.
The motion was initially approved before Cabatbat proposed that a warning be given instead of contempt. Defensor said Menguita would be given a “stern warning” instead.
Linked in anomalous claims?
In an earlier House hearing, Cabatbat claimed that Menguita was involved in anomalous PhilHealth claims in several hospitals in Koronadal in South Cotabato.
Citing records from PhilHealth’s Fact-Finding Investigation and Enforcement Division and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Region 12, Cabatbat said Menguita employed “recruiters” and pays them P100 to P150 to find PhilHealth members who would avail of the doctor’s “Free Wellness Program.”
Further, Cabatbat said participants are asked to fill up a Pro-forma admitting slip, undergo laboratory tests, and stay at the hospital for at least one night.
Menguita would then give a false diagnoses to the participants to get claims from PhilHealth, Cabatbat said.
Cabatbat said participants would be diagnosed with illnesses more severe than what they actually are. Some participants, the lawmaker said, are only experiencing headache, arthritis, joint pains, and other minor ailments.
“Magpapacheck-up sila, wala silang gagastusin, akala ng mga taong to nakakatipid sila. Yun pala, pagdating nila sa hospital, palalabasin na kung anu-anong klaseng sakit ang mayroon sila para makakuha ng napakalaking claim sa PhilHealth,” Cabatbat said.
(They will have a checkup, they will not be paying anything, these people thought they are saving money. But eventually when they go to the hospital, it will be made it appear they are suffering from various ailments so that PhilHealth claims will jack up.)
Health facilities allegedly involved in Menguita’s PhilHealth reimbursements include the Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center, Alan Valley Medical Specialist Center, Inc., St. Louis Hospital, and Sultan Kudarat Medical Specialist Center Inc.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Cabatbat further countered Menguita’s claims.
Cabatbat said the Philippine General Hospital in Manila only recorded 347 cases of hydrocephalus in a span of ten years. However, Cabatbat said Menguita reported 208 hydrocephalus cases in Koronadal only in a span of five years.
“Napakalaki ng Maynila at napakaliit ng Koronadal. Pero lumalabas na napakarami ng hydrocephalus doon sa lugar niya. Ang nakapagtataka, bakit hindi nya ito ni-report sa World Health Organization, sa Department of Health, sa Philippine Neurological Association?” Cabatbat said.
(Manila is huge and Koronadal is just small. But it came out that there are a lot of hydrocephalus cases in their area. Curiously, why didn’t he report this to the World Health Organization, in the Department of Health, in the Philippine Neurological Association?)
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