The Office of the Ombudsman has filed a graft complaint before the Sandiganbayan against ousted Laguna governor E. R. Ejercito and several others in connection with an illegal insurance deal in 2008 while he was the mayor of Pagsanjan town.
Likewise named respondents were former Pagsanjan Vice Mayor Crisostomo Vilar, and six former Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal Council) members – Arlyn Lazaro-Torres, Terryl Gamit-Talabong, Kalahi Rabago, Erwin Sacluti, Gener Dimaranan, and Ronaldo Sablan.
Also charged was Marilyn Bruel, the proprietor of First Rapids Care Ventures (FRCV).
Assistant Special Prosecutor III Maria Janina Hidalgo, in filing the case, alleged that Ejercito and the former municipal officials, in conspiracy with Bruel, “gave unwarranted benefit, advantage and preference to Bruel and/or FRCV by entering into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with FRCV to provide accident protection and financial assistance to Pagsanjan tourists and legitimate and qualified boatmen plying the route to and from the Pagsanjan Gorge Transit Zone for loss of life, disablement, medical reimbursement, and ambulance/hospital transfer reimbursement, without the requisite public bidding under Republic Act No. 9184…”
Republic Act No. 9184 refers to the Government Procurement Reform Act.
According to the charge sheet, the respondents entered into the deal even if FRCV was allegedly not licensed and without a certificate of authority from the Insurance Commission to engage in the insurance business.
The MOA “was immediately ratified and approved by the accused Sangguniang Bayan members despite the previously stated obvious flaws,” it further alleged.
The Ombudsman recommended P30,000 bail each for the respondents’ provisional liberty.
Ejercito was mayor of Pagsanjan town from 2001 to 2010 before he was elected Laguna governor.
He was disqualified in 2014 allegedly for overspending in the 2013 elections.