Ex-DoH chief charged in corporate dispute

Oct 17, 2020

National
Ex-DoH chief charged in corporate dispute

Manila (Philippines) October 17: FORMER Department of Health (DoH) secretary Dr. Alfredo R.A. Bengzon and his daughter-in-law were charged before the Pasig City Prosecutor's Office with qualified theft and estafa by The Medical City (TMC), which runs a network of hospitals and clinics.
The complaint was filed on October 15 by Joseph Carballo, head of internal audit of the Professional Services Inc. (PSI), the operator of TMC.
The case stemmed from the checks issued by TMC, and signed and approved by Bengzon, who was then the firm's chief executive officer, and his daughter-in-law
Margaret Bengzon for P2 million payable to the elder Bengzon and for P1.8 million payable to the law firm of Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc and De Los Angeles.
TMC said the law firm was representing Bengzon in his personal capacity.
Carballo alleged that the respondents "stole company funds in the forms of unauthorized money transfers via check" issued to Bengzon himself, as well as to the law office.
He claimed the respondents secured a board resolution authorizing them to be signatories to a Bank of Commerce account that PSI opened on Oct. 5, 2003.
Bengzon replaced the senior vice president for finance, Benita Macalagay, as the authorized signatory, which Carballo said was "highly unusual" since Margaret Bengzon, the senior vice president for strategic services at the time, was not involved in the financial or accounting department of PSI.
On March 6, 2018, the Bengzons signed a check in favor of the law firm for P1,813,700, which was encashed after three days.
Another check for P2 million was issued to Bengzon on April 13, 2018, which was encashed on April 13, 2018.
"After due investigation, the team and I discovered that the checks issued by the respondents on March 6, 2018 and April 13, 2018 were unsupported by any documents such as vouchers, engagement agreements invoices or even receipts," the complaint read.
Carballo said in September 2018, the Bengzons were removed from the company's board of directors.
Bengzon is said to be trying to seize control of PSI by filing cases with the Securities and Exchange Commission. His nephew Jose Xavier Gonzales is the current chairman of the TMC board.
TMC's corporate row started in 2018, when Bengzon refused to hold shareholder elections scheduled in June of that year.
The Bengzons could not be reached by The Manila Times for comment.
Source: The Manila Times