THE Medical City has filed charges of qualified theft and estafa against its former CEO Alfredo R. A. Bengzon and his daughter-in-law, Margaret A. Bengzon before the Pasig City Prosecutor’s Office.
The charges stemmed from a discovery of checks issued by The Medical City allegedly signed and approved by the two Bengzons for P2 million personally payable to Alfredo Bengzon, and for P1.8 million payable to a law firm.
Although paid with funds from The Medical City, the law firm was allegedly representing Alfredo Bengzon in his personal capacity since the hospital never retained the services of the law firm.
“The use of hospital funds for the personal expenses of Dr. Bengzon and his daughter-in-law Margaret Bengzon continues to be investigated, as there are still numerous questionable transactions both in the Philippines and Guam that are surfacing,” the Medical City said in a briefer.
The Medical City is the largest Philippine hospital group under a single brand. It owns six hospitals and 50 clinics, generating P17 billion in revenues and employing over 8,000 healthcare workers. Its flagship Pasig hospital was established in 1967.
Dr. Augusto P. Sarmiento, its Chairman Emeritus, was part of the original handful of doctors who founded TMC, and served as its CEO from 1969-1996. He handed over the executive reins to Alfredo Bengzon, the former Health secretary, who ran it from 1996-2018.
In 2010, The Medical City decided to expand its health care footprint by allowing its largest local and second-largest shareholder with 10 percent ownership, Fountel Corporation, to raise funds for its expansion.
Trouble began with TMC’s biggest investment – a hospital in Guam. Starting in 2012, the hospital’s construction was allegedly mismanaged so that it opened in July 2015, a year later than expected.
Furthermore, the billing system was also not properly implemented, so no collections were generated for over a year thereafter.
Also, the Medical City’s investment almost doubled from $225 to $400 million, and its Philippine debt grew to P22 billion, taking the enterprise to the brink of insolvency.