DOJ orders Pacific Plans Inc. to answer estafa charges

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) ordered officers of now defunct Pacific Plans Inc. (PPI) and its replacement company, Abundance Providers and Entrepreneurs Corporation (APEC), to answer syndicated estafa and estafa charges filed by 477 plan holders.

The case is against the responsible officers of the two companies led by Alfonso Yuchengco III, Ambrosio Padilla, George Dee, Helen Dee, Paul Sycip, and 30 others.

During Wednesday’s first preliminary investigation hearing, handling prosecutors Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Ma. Cristina Juanson and Assistant State Prosecutor Mary Ann Parong directed respondents to submit their counter-affidavits on June 28.

“Hopefully, uusad na po ang gulong ng hustisya, mabagal man, pero at least umuusad,” said Joshua Santiago, legal counsel for Pacific-APEC Plans Legal Complaint Group.

Santiago said respondents are willing to enter into a settlement agreement with complainants, in exchange for a withdrawal of charges, but clarified there is no offer yet from the other side.

Complainants have accused the respondents of employing a scheme for PPI to disenfranchise plan holders and refusing to pay benefits for open-ended educational plans.

Complainants accused respondents of “unilaterally” transferring the assets and liabilities of its PPI pension, memorial, and fixed-value educational plans to Lifetime Plans, which subsequently sold its stake in GPL Holdings Inc., another company under the Yuchengco Group.

The complaint further pointed out that in 2009, GPL Holdings Inc. sold PPI to businessman Noel Oñate who bought it for P250-million.

Plan holders under APEC allegedly were informed of the takeover merely through letters sent via email, with “no explanation or detailed reasons” provided for the change of the company.

Complainants said the move is a “massive scheme to systematically steal from the poor.”



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