The Quezon City Regional Trial Court has sentenced a claimant attempting to obtain Social Security System (SSS) disability benefits for pulmonary tuberculosis using spurious medical documents to an imprisonment of over four years on top of paying a P5,000 fine.
Regional Trial Court Judge Charito B. Gonzales found Orlando P. Tabadero guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violating the Social Security Law and ordered his imprisonment for a minimum of six months up to four years and two months.
Tabadero did “willfully, unlawfully and feloniously make false representation/s” using a fake medical certificate and x-ray results showing he was “diagnosed with Pulmonary TB when in truth and in fact he was not examined by any radiologist or physician… and the same were only made for the purpose of obtaining payment for his disability claim,” the six-page decision said.
SSS Chief Legal Counsel and Senior Vice President for Legal Services Division Voltaire P. Agas said the court case, which was handled by SSS lawyer Franco E. Bustamante, serves as a potent reminder of the legal consequences of trying to deceive the pension fund of undeserved benefits.
In March 2004, Tabadero filed a disability benefit claim at the SSS Biñan branch supported by a medical certificate showing a final diagnosis of pulmonary TB and x-ray results issued by a certain St. Ignatius Medical Clinic. The SSS did not process the claim on suspicions that it was fraudulent.
In his testimony, SSS fraud investigator Rolando R. Baldeo said Tabadero himself admitted that the doctor indicated in the medical certificate has not examined him. Moreover, the SSS discovered that the St. Ignatius Medical Clinic, the alleged source of the x-ray results, does not exist.
The accused defended himself by denying any participation in preparing the documents used for his claim, apart from attaching his photo and affixing his signature. Tabadero claimed that he was approached by a group of people led by a man named “Rocky,” who introduced himself as a retired SSS employee and offered him the opportunity to make money by filing a claim for partial disability.
Tabadero said “Rocky” then brought him to a clinic, made him wait outside, handed him documents, and instructed him to file his claim at SSS Biñan. But the court noted that Tabadero failed to show any evidence for his testimony, and even if third parties were involved, he still agreed to file the fraudulent claim.
“Since denial and alibi are so easy to concoct and fabricate, the same cannot prevail over the positive and credible testimony of the prosecution witness that the accused committed the crime,” the judge said, adding that “one who is found in possession of a forged document and who used and uttered it is presumed to be the forger.”