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Prudentialife pPlan holders want liquidation deferred

By: Leila B. Salaverria, May 22nd, 2013 04:13 AM

MANILA, Philippines—Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel Dooc has deferred the liquidation of the troubled preneed firm Prudentialife Plans Inc. on the request of some plan holders themselves.

In a hearing at the House of Representatives on Tuesday, plan holders who formed the Prudentialife Warriors called on the Insurance Commission to defer the liquidation process because they wanted more time to study the firm’s records.

According to Prudentialife Warrior member Eleuteria Buhay, they had yet to peruse the actuarial report of the firm. They want to know what assets and liabilities the firm has so they would be sure to get the maximum amount they could from the failed company.

“If we liquidate the firm, how will we safeguard our interests? We do not have documents in our possession so that we can check if we would be able to get the maximum amount that we are supposed to receive from the liquidation process,” Buhay said.

Last year, Prudentialife was placed under receivership after it could no longer cover the preneed plans that hundreds of thousands of investors had paid for.

The company was reported to have been cofounded in 1978 by former Ambassador to the Holy See Francisco Alba and Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante who later joined the Arroyo administration and was implicated in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

The Insurance Commission wants to go ahead and liquidate the failed preneed company.

Under the liquidation plan, some P8 billion in trust funds is to be divided among 300,000 holders of educational, pension and memorial plans. The trust funds consist of cash and noncash assets, but the latter would have to be sold first.

But the plan holders are expected to receive only a portion of the principal amount they paid for, and this would depend on the kind of plan they hold. Educational plan holders could get back an average of only 20 percent; pension plan holders, around 43 percent; and memorial plan holders, 80 percent.

As the trust fund is being distributed, the Insurance Commission intends to file insolvency proceedings in a regular court to run after the other corporate assets of Prudentialife, including those held by its subsidiaries.

Buhay said one of the plan holders’ concerns was that after the release of the first tranche of their refund, they would be told there would be many liabilities that would have to be paid for from the sale of the assets, thereby depriving them of the chance to get their money back.

There are other plan holders, however, who would like the liquidation process to begin immediately so they could recover some money as soon as possible, Dooc said.

He said he had to balance the conflicting demands of the plan holders.

He said he was also worried that at any time, the Court of Appeals could issue a temporary restraining order to stop the liquidation process.

Prudentialife Plans earlier filed a petition challenging the order to liquidate the firm.

At any rate, Dooc has agreed to give the plan holders some time to study the firm’s records.

Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III, who chairs the committee hearing the case, said the plan holders’ request for a deferment did not sound unreasonable.

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