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Suspect in Tuguegarao PhilHealth scam insists innocence

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TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan- One of the suspects of the PhilHealth controversy in Tuguegarao City People’s General Hospital (TCPGH) insisted she did not receive money from the hospital’s alleged P6 million anomalous benefit claims.

Marites Attaban, a filled hospital employee who allegedly masterminded the scam, denied “personally” knowing the ghost patients whose PhilHealth membership were used in fraudulent.

Attaban, during the legislative inquiry of the Tuguegarao City Council,also denied going to the house of a certain Gilbert Macatuggal, a PhilHealth member who admitted Attaban and a certain Gina Saquing reached out to him for the scam.

Attaban said it was Macatuggal who went to her house instead, but already during the investigation of the anomalous claims.

“First of all, I don’t know Gilbert Macattuggal personally. Same with him, hindi niya po ako kilala personally. Baka hindi po niya alam kung ano po ang pangalan ng asawa at kung tanungin niyo ang tunay na pangalan ko, hindi po niya masasagot,” Attaban said.

“I denied his [accusations] na pumunta ako sa bahay niya, for one reason, hindi po ako pwedeng pumunta sa kanya dahil ko po siya kilala. Ang matatandaan ko lang po, pumunta kami nung time na nag-iinvestigate na kami,” she added.

In his testimony to chief of hospital Dr. Ray Dulig and the other investigating panel of the hospital, Macatuggal confirmed he was not admitted in the hospital, making him already illegible for a PhilHealth benefit claim.

Macatuggal, however, initially denied that he knows Attaban. But he later admitted that Attaban reached out to him.

“Eh ma’am, ari na kan kari medamay nu magergo na,” (Ma’am, would I be not liable if I speak?) Macatuggal asked the investigating panel.

Macatuggal disclosed that Attaban promised him half of the PhilHealth claim. He said Attaban only asked for his PhilHealth number for processing.

He added that prior to his scheduled testimony to authorities, Attaban reportedly texted him not to go to the investigating because she would only deny what he would have to say.

‘Discrepancy’

The scam was discovered when a certain Ma Socorro Manibug spotted a discrepancy on the dates of Macatuggal’s confinement.

Manibug reportedly brought back Macatuggal’s claim form because the date of confinement was from January 13-17, 2017 and she was only processing claims for December 2016.

Attaban, admitting at the city council, reportedly changed the dates from January 13-17, 2017 to December 13-17, saying she first mistook the dates.

A seemingly angry Councilor Raymund Guzman asked what’s Attaban’s basis in changing the dates but Attaban provided an “unclear” answer.

Attaban also admitted that she did not verified with the admission logbook when she attempted to “correct” the dates of Macatuggal’s confinement. –Northernforum.net

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