MANILA, Philippines – Around 450 plan holders of the defunct Pacific Plans Incorporated and its replacement company Abundance Providers and Entrepreneurs Corporation (APEC) on Monday, January 23 filed a syndicated estafa complaint with the Department of Justice (DOJ) against its top executives.
The group accused the respondents of 840 counts of “syndicated estafa by means of deceit,” 840 counts of “syndicated estafa by abuse of confidence” and another 77 cases specific to Lifetime Plans only.
The complaint was filed by plan holders who formed a group called Pacific-APEC Plans Legal Complaint Group (PAP-LCG). The group was initially called the Pacific Plans Complaint Group, which listed 838 members.
“Our common aspiration is for us to be able to regain what we lost because of the way our money were managed by the Yuchengo businesses,” one of the complaints said.
The complainant who requested anonymity said she was just offered P1,400 for his P100,000 pension plan.
Another plan holder who invested about P6 million for various top level educational and pension plans for his family was offered P400,000 as settlement.
“They offered me P400,000 for my investment,” the plan holder who also asked not to be named said. “Not only is it a farce, it is also a huge insult,” the complainant added.
“We are focusing all our efforts to delivering this case to court and getting the justice the disenfranchised plan holders deserve,” Joshua Santiago, legal counsel of PAP-LCG, said.
The group said that in June 2004, Pacific Plans unilaterally transferred the assets and liabilities of its pension, memorial, and fixed-value educational plans to a new company, Lifetime Plans.
“Two months later, Lifetime Plans sold its stake in Pacific Plans to GPL Holdings Incorporated, which is another Yuchengco family company for the declared book value,” the group added.
In early 2009, GPL Holdings then sold Pacific Plans to businessman Noel Oñate, who bought it for P250 million.
The complainants said they were only informed of the takeover through letters sent via mail, which they considered “highly suspicious.”
First case lost
The class suit by the Pacific-APEC Plans Legal Complaint Group is not the first time plan holders have tried to recover their “lost investments.”
In 2009, Parents Enabling Parents Coalition (PEP), a group of plan holders led by filed by Victoria Gomez-Jacinto, also filed a case against the Yuchengcos.
The PEP group accused the Yuchengcos of defrauding “at least 34,000 plan holders by inducing them to purchase open-ended educational plans based on their false pretense that they have the capability and the willingness to assume the risks inherent in contracts of this nature, which they now refuse to do so.”
The PEP, however, lost the case after the DOJ found no probable cause to indict the Yuchengcos for syndicated estafa.
The DOJ held that the PEP failed to “failed to prove that respondents committed any unlawful act or carry out transaction of soliciting funds from the general public by way of investments through fraudulent scheme.”
The DOJ explained that since many of the Pacific Plans clients had benefited from their plans, “it cannot be gainsaid that PPI (Pacific Plans) merely solicited funds from the general public in the guise of education plans without any intention of honoring the same.”
“Most of us are vendors, school teachers, domestic helpers and ordinary employees, and we were tricked out of shelling out up to P100,000 over 15 years, with the promise that we would receive triple the amount when the time comes to retire, or our children went to college or for treatment of illnesses due to old age,” the PAP-LCG said in a statement. – Rappler.com
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