Planholders vow to file cases against former Pacific Plan owners
Jan. 26, 2009
MANILA, Philippines – Planholders of Pacific Plans Inc. (PPI) has vowed to file cases of syndicated estafa against the Yuchengco group, the preneed company’s former owners.
Besides promising to file cases in Makati, Muntinlupa, Antipolo, and Mandaluyong, Parents Enabling Parents (PEP) Coalition is also mulling a separate complaint at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) against the trust unit of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) for allegedly mismanaging the preneed’s trust fund. RCBC is the lending arm of the Yuchengco group.
Cases may even be filed in Mindanao, PEP Coalition president Philip Piccio said. Charges may even be made against officials of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should they be liable, he added.
At the same time, PEP welcomed the gesture of businessman Noel Oñate, Pacific Plans’ new owner, to hold a dialog with the group. However, he stressed that the group will oppose the Yuchengco group’s earlier decision to rehabilitate Pacific Plans.
Pre-need companies should not blame the current financial crisis for their woes since problems plaguing the industry began way before the meltdown, Piccio said.
“The real solution is to file cases against erring preneed companies,” Piccio said. “If the government does that, I think all these companies will think ten times before they renege on their obligation.”
Estafa complaint will not prosper, insurer says
For its part, estafa complaints filed against the Yuchengcos, while welcomed, “will not prosper because the requisite elements of fraud and damage are absent when PPI was sold,” said Yuchengco-controlled Grepalife Holdings, which used to be the parent of PPI – said that
“We respect PEP Coalition’s plan to file complaints with the BSP for allegedly mismanaging PPI’s trust funds, and with the courts for alleged syndicated estafa as a result of the sale of PPI. We are confident that once the facts are presented, we will be vindicated,” the insurer said in a statement.
“The accusation that the sale was equivalent to the former owner running away from its obligations is empty since PPI and its new owner are committed to pay the plan holders,” the statement added.
It also said that the sale “did not result in any diminution in the corporate or trust assets of PPI which are intact at P12.5 billion, and will not affect the court-approved rehabilitation plan in respect of the traditional plan holders. The sale, therefore, caused no damage or injury to the plan holders,” the company said.
Meanwhile, the Philippines’ socioeconomic planning body said that the preneed industry should be regulated by the Insurance Commission, instead of the SEC.
“The SEC has failed miserably in regulating the preneed firms,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto told reporters. He added that the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) should also fall under the regulation of the IC.
At the same time, Recto, who also heads the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), rejected proposals to give the industry a bail out.
“Taxpayers should not pay for the mistake of these companies,” he said. – GMANews.TV
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