ER Ejercito gets 6-8 years term, ban from public office over illegal insurance plans
The Sandiganbayan has sentenced former Pagsanjan, Laguna, Mayor Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejercito and six others to six to eight years in prison for failing to bid out an insurance deal for waterfall tourists and boatmen in 2008.
In a recent 31-page decision, the court also perpetually disqualified Ejercito—also known by his stage name George Estregan—from public office after finding him guilty of one count of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Also meted out the same penalties were then-Pagsanjan councilors Arlyn Lazaro-Torres, Terryl Gamit-Talabong, Kalahi Rabago, Erwin Sacluti and Gener Dimaranan, as well as private respondent Marilyn Bruel.
For now, there were allowed to post an additional bail bond of P30,000 each within five days to enjoy temporary liberty while they pursue their appeal.
Former Vice Mayor Crisostomo Villar was acquitted due to the failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
The case arose from an insurance deal entered into with First Rapids Care Ventures (FRCV) to grant “accident protection and financial assistance” coverage to tourists and qualified boatmen plying the route to and from the Pagsanjan Gorge Tourist Zone.
Prosecutors questioned the deal because of the lack of public bidding and the fact that FRCV has no license or certificate of authority from the Insurance Commission (IC) to engage in the insurance business.
“The totality of accused Estregan’s acts point to a conscious and intentional use of his public office to obligate the Municipality of Pagsanjan to enter into a service contract with FRCV without the requisite determination by the [bids and awards committee] of its qualification, ability and capacity,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Bayani Jacinto.