By William Depasupil /Manila Times
A Manila Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC) has granted the petition for bail for the release from detention of Dr Bryan Christopher Sy, one of the owners of WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center.
Judge Jerome Jimenez, presiding judge of MTC Branch 6, issued the order yesterday after the accused posted a P72,000-cash bond.
“You are hereby directed to release from custody the person of Bryan Christopher Sy Wang, accused in NPS (National Prosecution Service) Docket No XVI-INQ-19F-00070 for estafa and falsification of private documents, after accused posted his personal cash bail bond in the amount of Seventy Two Thousand Pesos (P72,000) under OR (official receipt) No 6343449, dated June 15, 2019, unless he is being held for some other lawful cause,” the release order stated.
But Kris Gargantiel, one of Sy’s lawyers, said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) refused to comply with the court’s order. A jail officer refused to honour the court’s order on the ground that nobody from the NBI would sign the release order.
The lawyer pointed out that the NBI had no legal basis to further hold Sy.
“It’s arbitrary detention,” Gargantiel told Manila Times.
“Judges are assigned to report for work during weekends or at night precisely because the right to bail chooses no time and day.”
WellMed’s lead counsel Rowell Ilagan said they were considering filing a formal complaint for arbitrary detention if their client would not be released despite his bail.
“It is our client’s constitutional right to post bail and the NBI should comply with the release order of the court,” Ilagan pointed out.
He said with the NBI’s refusal to comply with a lawful order, “most likely he (Sy) will be released on Monday.”
On Friday, Sy’s legal team also wrote a letter to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and NBI Director Dante Gierran demanding the immediate release of their client because Sy had been detained for more than 36 hours without any formal charges filed against him before the local courts.
“Up to this date, despite the lapse of 36-hour period provided under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, no information or complaint has been filed with the proper judicial authorities against Mr Sy,” the letter said.
But on Friday afternoon, Justice Undersecretary Mark Perete disclosed that the investigating prosecutors found probable cause to indict Sy and whistle blowers, Edwin Roberto and Liezel Aileen de Leon for the complex crime of estafa through falsification of official documents.
According to Perete, government prosecutors found that the WellMed officers conspired in using falsified documents to collect payments from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) for alleged medical services to patients who were already dead.
“The inquest prosecutor meanwhile referred the case against seven other WellMed officers/employees for preliminary investigation. Said employees were not brought to the prosecutor for inquest,” he said.
Sy was arrested on Monday while giving his testimony to the NBI’s Anti-Graft Division.
The NBI said Sy’s arrest was a case of hot pursuit under Rule 113 section 5(b) of the Rules of Court, which allows warrantless arrests “when an offence has just been committed” and the arresting officer “has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it.”
On Tuesday, Sy and the two whistleblowers underwent inquest proceedings at the Department of Justice and were charged with estafa and falsification of official documents.
The NBI, in behalf ofPhilHealth, also slapped the same charges on seven others — Sy’s father Claro Sy, Sy’s wife Therese Francesca Tan Sy, Dr John Ray Gonzales, Alvin Sy, Dick Ong, Dr Porsha Natividad and Dr Joemie Soriano.
In his affidavit, Roberto revealed that before he resigned in March 2018, PhilHealth paid WellMed a total of P600,600, consisting of 200 sessions from dead patients, and another P208,000 for 80 sessions.
According to him, PhilHealth settled a total of 27 claims amounting to P808,600.
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