(POLITIKO) Sen. Jinggoy Estrada is seeking the passage of a measure establishing a centralized online database of Filipinos who have already passed away to stem the modus of con artists stealing the identities of deceased persons.
“Criminals and syndicates have been exploiting the lack of immediate access to death data in carrying out their fraudulent activities and corrupt practices,” Estrada said on Wednesday.
“Sa maraming pagkakataon ay napatunayan sa maraming imbestigasyon na isinagawa ng Senado na nagagamit ang pangalan ng mga yumao na sa mga fraudulent payment claims, dayaan sa halalan at iba’t ibang uri ng panloloko. Panahon na para solusyunan ang bagay na ito,” he said.
The senator said he would file a bill creating the Philippine Death Check (PDC) Register, which will be administered and operated by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Under the proposed “Online Death Verification System Act,” Estrada said local civil registrars will be mandated to upload the information on the death of a person to the PDC Register Electronic System.
According to Estrada, the online death verification system would “facilitate early detection and prevention of identity theft” of deceased individuals.
More importantly, he said the electronic database would prevent criminals from using the names of the dead in their unlawful activities, such as the multibillion-peso “ghost dialysis” scam that victimized the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
“Those funds that were intended for the poor and in actual need of medical assistance ended up in the hands of owners of private dialysis centers,” Estrada lamented.
“This ‘ghost dialysis’ scheme involving the filing of claims before PhilHealth on behalf of dead patients highlighted the weaknesses in the bureaucracy and provided an impetus for stronger anti-fraud mechanisms,” he noted. -Politiko