The South Cotabato-based neurologist accused of colluding with four hospitals to churn out bogus Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) bills was cited for contempt by congressmen but escaped detention because it was his birthday.
The House of Representatives joint panel conducting a probe on PhilHealth anomalies on Wednesday wanted Dr. Mark Dennis Menguita punished for verbally accusing Magsasaka party-list Rep. Argel Cabatbat of lying.
Minority Leader Benny Abante Jr. brought up the contempt case. But instead of detention, Menguita was given just a “stern warning” upon the request of Cabatbat.
“I am recommending just a warning. After all, it’s the birthday of Doc Mark Dennis Menguita. I will let this pass, even if he accused me of lying,” Cabatbat said.
Menguita was the second resource person who was cited for contempt by the House Committee on Public Accounts and the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability in the course of their investigations.
Last week, the House detained for four days PhilHealth internal legal department senior manager Rogelio Pocallan Jr., who repeatedly defended a legal opinion which the joint panel deemed as erroneous.
In a previous hearing, Cabatbat accused Menguita of misdiagnosing PhilHealth members to be able to claim bigger insurance claims through his wellness program in Koronadal.
Cabatbat said Menguita, in connivance with hospital staff, requires PhilHealth members to be admitted even as they are just experiencing mild ailments.
Cabatbat also accused Menguita of hiring hitmen to kill him after he sought to revoke the doctor’s license four years ago.
Menguita denied all the accusations of Cabatbat.
“I deny all the accusations of Congressman Cabatbat. I deny everything. I am innocent and a victim of harassment. You’re confusing the panel with details and trying to connect me to the so-called mafia,” he said.
Menguita likewise denied he charged fake medical bills through his wellness program and that he has the evidence to dispel Cabatbat’s claims.
In the course of the hearing and while Menguita was speaking, he claimed “seeing” Cabatbat curse at him.
Cabatbat apologized to the doctor.
“I have to apologize to Doctor Menguita. I lost control. I uttered expletives when I heard him say he is innocent. I know what he did wrong,” Cabatbat said, adding that he will stand by his accusations against the doctor.
PhilHealth has filed 21 cases for fraud against Menguita. The hospitals allegedly involved in the scam are St. Louis Hospital, Allah Valley Medical Specialist Center Inc., Dr. Arturo P Pingoy Medical Center and St. Louis Medical CL and Hospital.