No anomaly in insurance deal, says ex-governor | Inquirer News
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No anomaly in insurance deal, says ex-governor

/ 12:05 AM April 05, 2016

SAN PEDRO CITY—Former Laguna Gov. Jeorge “ER” Ejercito denied violating the law when he set up a financial assistance program for boatmen and tourists at Pagsanjan Falls when he was mayor of the town.

Ejercito said the First Rapids Care Accident Protection and Assistance Program was a specialized program of the municipality for 1,974 boatmen servicing tourists to the Pagsanjan gorge.

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Pagsanjan, on Oct. 23, 2008, signed a nine-year memorandum of agreement with First Rapids Care Venture (FRCV) for its services that involved accident and death protection and medical reimbursement.

Ejercito, however, said the program did not offer insurance policies and thus required no public bidding, contrary to the findings of the Office of the Ombudsman, which found probable cause to charge Ejercito and eight other people.

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No license

The Ombudsman said FRCV was not licensed to engage in the insurance business and did not undergo the proper procurement procedures.

Aside from Ejercito, also facing formal charges for violation of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) are incumbent Pagsanjan Vice Mayor Terryl Talabong; former Vice Mayor Crisostomo Vilar; former Councilors Arlyn Torres, Kalahi Rabago, Erwin Sacluti, Gener Dimaranan and Ronald Sablan; and Marilyn Bruel, FRCV owner.

Ousted

Ejercito, a movie actor, was mayor of Pagsanjan from 2001 to 2010. In 2010, he ran and won as governor of Laguna, but his second term was cut short after being ousted in 2014 for campaign overspending. He is seeking to reclaim the seat in this year’s elections under the United Nationalist Alliance.

Under the financial assistance program, a boatman, in case of death or accident, may claim between P75,000 and P85,000 depending on his years of service. The assistance program also covered tourists.

Risky job

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Ejercito said that before the Pagsanjan government came up with the financial assistance scheme, he had to spend his own money to help boatmen who met accidents.

“No insurance company would ever agree to cover boatmen because theirs is such a risky job,” he said in a telephone interview on Sunday.

He said he started a similar initiative for movie stunt men.

Ejercito said he would attend the arraignment on April 18. “This is an old case that my [political] rivals are trying to revive,” he said. Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon

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TAGS: assistance program, ER Ejercito, Governor, Insurance, insurance deal, Laguna
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