Private Hospital in Valenzuela City Faces Accusations of Illegal Detention: More Complainants Come Forward

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Two More Complainants Seek Help Against Private Hospital in Valenzuela

Mayor Wes Gatchalian has revealed that two additional complainants have come forward seeking assistance in filing a case against a private hospital in the city of Valenzuela. The complainants, Nerizza Safra and Cheryluvic Ignacio, approached the mayor after learning about the complaint filed by others. This development comes after Regional Trial Court Branch 109 Judge Marita Iris Laqui-Genilo issued an arrest warrant for three personnel of the Ace Medical Center in Barangay Malanday.

Allegations of Illegal Detention and Financial Burden

Nerizza Safra shared her experience of staying in the hospital for over a month after giving birth to a premature baby in 2017. Her bill amounted to nearly p500,000, out of which she could only afford to pay p200,000. Despite her request to issue a promissory note for the remaining balance, the hospital rejected her plea. Safra sought assistance from the Public Attorney’s Office, which then issued a demand letter to the hospital. Only after this intervention was Safra and her daughter allowed to go home. However, due to her inability to settle the remaining bill, the hospital did not register the birth certificate of her daughter.

Cheryluvic Ignacio, on the other hand, was hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19 in October 2021. After receiving a discharge order on her 11th day in the hospital, she was presented with a bill of p275,374.47. Ignacio’s Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) only covered p125,000, leaving her with a significant financial burden. Despite offering a promissory note, the hospital refused to accept it, forcing Ignacio to remain in the hospital until a family member assisted her in settling the bill.

Mayor’s Commitment to Pursue Legal Action

Mayor Gatchalian has vowed to ensure that the case against the hospital staff progresses. The newly installed Police Chief, Col. Allan Umipig, has stated that they will promptly serve the arrest warrants to the hospital staff identified as Maria Cristina Eugenio, Raymond Masaganda, and Samuel de los Santos. It is worth noting that the accused individuals may post bail for temporary liberty.

Previously, Mayor Gatchalian accompanied the first batch of complainants, Lovery Magtangob and Rachel Alvaro, in filing a case against the trio for alleged illegal detention and other charges before the City Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutors found probable cause for grave coercion under Article 268 of the Revised Penal Code, specifically filed by Magtangob. In her sworn statement, Magtangob detailed her alleged detention and the hospital’s refusal to release the death certificate of her deceased loved one.

In response to these incidents, Mayor Gatchalian has requested the City Council to pass an ordinance that would include hospital owners and administrators as respondents in similar cases that may arise in the future.

Source: The Manila Times

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