Ombudsman dismisses 2 hospital employees in Pangasinan

DAGUPAN CITY — The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal from service of two employees of the provincial government, both of whom are employed with the Manaoag Community Hospital.

Dismissed were Jessie O. Fabia and Richelle O. Fernandez who were found by the Ombudsman to be administratively liable for grave misconduct and serious dishonesty in violation of Republic Act No. 3019 (Malversation through Falsification of Public Documents).

The two employees were likewise meted with other accessory penalties like cancellation of civil service eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and disqualification from re-employment in the government service.

Fabia was hired as Administrative II/cashier-designate while Richelle R. Fernandez worked as a casual employee and was designated as pharmacy aide.

The Ombudsman resolution was penned by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer III Zarnette E. Sanceda and approved by Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard A. Mosquera.

Both Fabia and Fernandez were indicted for seven counts of Malversation through Falsification of Public Documents and seven counts of violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019.

The case stemmed from a handwritten affidavit complaint addressed to former Governor Amado Espino Jr., now congressman of the fifth district of Pangasinan, by a patient named Liza Emasa Lagmay of Nantangalan, Pozorrubio town who claimed she was charged Php4,000 as hospital bill during her confinement period from August 16 to 20, 2014 due to severe diarrhea.

In her complaint, Ms. Lagmay stated that she was initially billed an amount of Php8,000 despite being a point-of-care (POC) enrollee of the provincial government. She then pleaded and a ‘compromise’ was suggested that the hospital bill would be lowered to Php4,000.

Later on, it was found out that only Pp81 was remitted to the Provincial Treasurer’s Office.

Aside from Lagmay, several other complainants have surfaced narrating the same experience from the two employees. This prompted the discovery of six other falsified transactions where tampering of official receipts incurred.

As a scheme, the two employees initially charge the patients exorbitant amount of fees, and later on, the patients or their relatives who assist them plead for discounts or reduction of charges.

In January last year, then Governor Espino placed Fabia and Fernandez under preventive suspension for 60 days.

On March 2015, then Pangasinan Provincial Health Officer Jeremy Agerico B. Rosario (now reelected member of the provincial board), filed the complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against the two erring employees.

Thorough examination of documents from both the complainant and respondents along with the testimonies gathered during the hearing, the court then found the two employees guilty as charged. PNA/