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Plan holders to sue legacy

First Posted 10:23:00 02/13/2009

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CEBU CITY, Philippines - There were only less than 10 of them.

But Cebu-based pension plan holders of Legacy Consolidated Plans Inc. (LCPI) vowed to stand up against Legacy and its owner, Celso delos Angeles, who owns a resthouse in Punta Engańo, Lapu-Lapu City.

?We are organizing ourselves into a group and will file a case against Delos Angeles,? said a Cebu City-based plan holder, who refused to be identified.

The plan holders met Philip Piccio, president of Parents Enabling Parents Coalition (Pep Coalition) at Baseline Restaurant last night to discuss ways on how to organize themselves.

Piccio advised plan holders to form a group, gather and solicit support of as many plan holders as they can to put up a strong front against Legacy.

?Pep Coalition started in 2005 and we have been fighting ever since. I am telling you, don't expect overnight miracles. But since you're starting a fight here in Cebu, you have to organize yourselves as one group,? he said.

According to its website, Pep Coalition was formed when Pacific Plans Inc. applied for rehabilitation with the Makati Regional Trial Court.

Piccio came to Cebu upon the invitation by another Cebu-based plan holder, who lost about P3 million worth of pension plan contracts to LCPI.

The closure of Legacy's pre-need companies ?Legacy Consolidated Plans Inc., Scholarship Plan Philippines Inc. and All Asia Plans Corp.? reportedly had no approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Three pre-need firms affiliated with the Legacy Group ?Legacy Consolidated Plans Inc., Scholarship Plan Phils. Inc. and All Asia Plans Corp.? ceased operations without approval from the SEC.

SEC Chair Fe Barin knew about the troubles of Legacy when 10 of its companies went to the SEC in December last year to file for voluntary dissolution.

The Legacy's three shuttered pre-need firms alone have obligations of P1.1 billion to some 50,000 plan holders. It is not known immediately how many of the plan holders are in Cebu.

But one plan holder, a Briton, who is married to a Cebuana, said LCPI fooled them to believe that the company operations are ?healthy and sound.?

He said it is easy for prospective clients to invest in pre-need pension plans offered by LCPI because of its double-your-money-in-three-years (DYM3) program.

Under the program, he said, a plan holder would get P200,000 if he invested P100,000 when the plan matured in three years.

Upon signing, a plan holder would be introduced to a buy back agreement through a deed of assignment where he would be given 10 percent of the maturity value.

This means that if the maturity value is at P200,000, the plan holder will receive P20,000 upon signing the contract.

?The remaining 90 percent is split to 12 quarterly installments and released as post-dated checks to each individual investor,? said the Briton.

This means that a plan holder receives post-dated check worth P15,000 every three months.

?If you sum up everything, we get annual percentage rate of 41.67 which is even twice than those of the banks,? he noted.

Asked if he had any suspicion on the deal, he replied: ?No. Because if we check in the website of SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), Legacy passed the checklist on how to identify a scammer.?

?We may be guilty of being greedy (because we want to double our money immediately) but Legacy is registered with SEC. What we do not know is they were not authorized to sell plans that double money in three years.?

He said they are pushing for a united front among all plan holders because their pre-need investments are not insured unlike in the banks.

The same investor has six accounts in five Legacy-affiliated banks that closed down. The deposits reached a total of P7.5 million but he was not worried about his bank deposits.

In the meeting last night, he asked Piccio about the necessary steps that they would take to get ?some of our money back which was run by a criminal.?

?We were misled. We were told that the SEC has not seen a copy of the financial statement of Legacy since 2007 but I filed my first plan in September 2007 but SEC still allowed Legacy to continue getting more plan holders.?

His wife, who was an agent of LCPI, was also uninformed about any movements in the pre-need firm.

Piccio of Pep Coalition urged those present in the meeting to help educate fellow plan holders who may be called to sign documents ?to settle cases out of court.?

A plan holder said local division heads of the Legacy group called for a meeting in Ayala Center Cebu for plan holders to sign documents for a possible payout.

?You have to tell them not to believe immediately. Because what they are signing might work to their disadvantage. There is a scheme where your plans will be converted to stocks. That's another misinformation,? Piccio told the group.

Piccio and the plan holders are also planning to organize a forum on Feb. 20 to educate more plan holders on what to do with the present situation.

?SEC is protecting the company and not the plan holders so what you need to do is gather and file a case.?

Piccio said he is going around the country to help other plan holder groups in Bacolod, Iloilo, Davao and General Santos among others to take legal action and make the issue known to a wider public.

He said cases against Legacy should be filed by several united groups around the country.

?The advantage of filing several complaints is that you have several fiscals looking at your cases. If you only have one fiscal, chances are the company will bribe that fiscal.?

?There is only one percent chance that the fiscal will say no (to the bribe). But if you have 11 cases filed in different areas of the country, it will be harder for them to bribe and if this happens, it will make De los Angeles quiver.?

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