Two House of Representatives committees cited in contempt another resource person, this time a doctor, in the on-going congressional inquiry on anomalies in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
Dr. Mark Dennis Menguita, a neurologist, would have spent several days in the custody of the Lower House if not for the intervention of Ang Magsasaka Partylist Rep. Argel Cabatbat, whom the doctor called a “liar” at the resumption of the joint inquiry being conducted by the House Committees on Public Accounts and on Good Government.
Minority Leader and Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante’s motion to cite Menguita in contempt was unanimously carried but the opposition solon did not propose a penalty.
Abante said Menguita, who had been linked by Cabatbat of involvement in massive medical insurance fraud, had no right accusing a House member a liar.
Asked by Anakalusugan Rep. Michael Defensor, public accounts committee chairman, to make a final comment on the issue, Cabatbat said Menguita must no longer be penalized.
Cabatbat recommended that a reprimand will suffice for Menguita’s alleged show of disrespect to House members.
It will be recalled that last week, the same House panels detained Philhealth lawyer Rogelio Pocallan for three days after citing him in contempt of the Lower House.
Pocallan’s mistake was his insistence on the correctness of his legal opinion that Philhealth can still amend the penalty of three-month suspension of accreditation imposed on Our Lady of Perpetual Succor Medical Center.
This, despite the fact that the Court of Appeals had already upheld the legality of the suspension.
Testifying for his own defense, Menguita denied Cabatbat’s allegations, saying that the solon had no evidence to prove his allegations. In fact, witnesses have issued affidavits clearing his name.
Turning emotional, Menguita said he was a “victim of harassment” initiated by Cabatbat and his friends. He also accused Cabatbat of joining the harassment activities to favor the solon’s friend who became suspicious that he had a romantic relationship with his wife.
Meanwhile, Cabatbat claimed that Menguita submitted wrong data on the prevalence of stroke cases in Koronadal City for five years, mostly his patients who made Philhealth reimbursement claims.
Cabatbat said most of these are bogus claims supported by spurious medical findings given by Menguita.
The lawmaker said Menguita had practiced at the Dr. Arturo Pingoy Medical Center, St. Louis Hospital, Sultan Kudarat Medical Specialist Center, and Alan Valley Medical Specialty Center. All reimbursements have been investigated by both the National Bureau of Investigation and Philhealth.
According to Cabatbat, it was Menguita who hired an assassin to liquidate him in Quezon City last year. The lawmaker escaped death and was able to chase two of his motorcycle-riding assailants and ram their vehicle with his car.
Cabatbat claimed that one of the gunmen, a policeman, died from injuries sustained during the incident but was able to make a post mortem declaration pointing to Menguita as the mastermind of the failed hit on the solon.