Ex-lawyer pledges P50m more to planholders
By Antonio M. Ajero
Nov. 13, 2006
OWNERS and officers of erring pre-need educational plan companies face the prospect of spending the rest of their lives behind bars, even if they will not be convicted of the criminal cases their victims will file against them.
This is because the holders of College Assurance Plan (CAP), Pacific Plans, Inc. and several other ill-fated pre-need educational plan companies are filing criminal cases of syndicated estafa against the firms’ owners and responsible officers. A person charged with the crime of syndicated estafa is not allowed to post bail for his temporary liberty.
This developed as former congressman Mario Batacan Crespo, more popularly known as Mark Jimenez, pledged to donate P50 million more in addition to the original P50 million he has given to help plan holders pay for the tuition and related expenses of their children while unable to collect from the erring pre-need companies.
Philip Piccio, president of the Parents Enabling Parents (PEP) Coalition, said at least five aggrieved Pacific Plans holders in Davao City went to the Davao City Prosecutor’s Office (CPO) last Fiday to file charges of syndicated estafa against Ambassador Alfonso T. Yuchengco, other members of his family, and officers of Pacific Plans.
However, official filing did not push through as Malacañang declared a half-day holiday in Davao City on the occasion of the opening of the National Youth Day on Friday.
The five plan holders — Loida Z. Lombiso, Rita C. Tao, Graciano A. Inso, Eduardo P. Ortouste and Reuben D. Baldoza Jr. — comprise the original group of complainants of the more than 1,000 plan holders in Davao City about to file their individual cases starting Monday.
Veteran Davao lawyer Ruben Baldoza Sr., father of one of the complainants, acts as the group’s legal counsel in Davao.
Piccio said the coalition is ready to help the more than 300,000 plan holders of Pacific, CAP, and other pre-need companies file syndicated estafa charges against their owners and officers.
An aide told Sun.Star if all the victims will file the estafa cases, the respondents will languish in detention for the rest of their lives.
According to the younger Baldoza, the pledge of Jimenez for an additional assistance of P50 million to the plan holders was announced during a brief meeting at the Regency Inn on Villa-Abrille.
The amount is on top of the earlier P50 million Jimenez gave to the plan holders through the PEP Coalition.
Earlier, during a meeting at the Yellow Fin Restaurant, Baldoza explained to parents the process and documentation needed in availing oneself of the assistance of congressman Jimenez.
In that meeting, Piccio said that the computation indicated that the plan holders needed a total financial assistance of P75 million.
He also said that the assistance extended by Jimenez was without strings attached. He also refused to discuss the political plans of Jimenez.
Jimenez himself was evasive to questions on his political plans from local mediamen.
He was also reportedly mum on politics when he met with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at Claude’s Cafe on Rizal Street last Friday night. Also present in that meeting was a close friend of the mayor, businessman James Gaisano, who had a previous appointment with the city’s chief executive, and Representative Claude Bautista of Davao del Sur.
The following morning, Bautista brought Jimenez to Malita.
Earlier reports indicated that Jimenez has promised to give financial support to Bautista if he runs for governor of Davao del Sur against Representative Douglas Ra. Cagas, but these reports have not been confirmed.
Jimenez came to Davao primarily to speak during the National Youth Day and to meet with local conveners of the PEP Coalition headed by the younger Baldoza.
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