A local court has ordered the arrest of top officials of Kapa-Community Ministry International (Kapa), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said in a statement Wednesday.
SEC said the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bislig City issued Tuesday, February 11, warrants of arrest for Joel Apolinario, Kapa founder and president; Margie Danao, trustee; and Reyna Apolinario, corporate secretary.
Also included in the arrest warrant are Marisol Diaz, Adelfa Fernandico, Moises Mopia, and Reniones Catubigan. They are said to be Kapa promoters.
“The Warrants of Arrest were issued after prosecutors at the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed criminal charges against KAPA for violations of Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code (SRC),” SEC said.
SEC said the DOJ has accused organization of “willfully, unlawfully and criminally” engaging in the selling or offering for sale or distribution of securities in the Philippines without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the commission.
“Accordingly, the DOJ charged KAPA, along with Mr. and Mrs. Apolinario and Danao, of violating Sections 8 (8.1), 26.1 and 28 of the SRC. It also indicted Diaz, Fernandico, Mopia and Catubigan for violation of Section 26.1 of the SRC for promoting the investment scam,” the agency said.
It added that the DOJ further charged Diaz before the Antipolo RTC for violation of Section 28 of the SRC.
“Under Section 8 (8.1) of the SRC, securities shall not be sold or offered for sale or distribution within the Philippines without a registration statement duly filed and approved by the SEC. Section 26.1 further provides that it shall be unlawful for any person, directly or indirectly, in connection with the purchase or sale of any securities to employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud,” SEC said.
Section 28 states that “no person shall engage in the business of buying or selling securities in the Philippines as a broker or dealer, or act as a salesman, or an associated person of any broker or dealer unless registered with the SEC”.
The justice department also filed similar information against Mopia and Fernandico with the Quezon RTC Branch 93.
The Quezon RTC issued the warrants of arrest against Fernandico and Mopia on Dec. 2, 2019. The criminal proceedings stemmed from the complaint filed by the SEC on June 18, 2019 against Kapa for the alleged unauthorized sale or offering for sale or distribution of securities to the general public.
SEC said the warrants of arrest stemmed from a DOJ resolution on Sept. 25, 2019 after prosecutors found probable cause to charge Kapa, “affirming the findings of the commission”.
“[SEC] found KAPA to have enticed the public to invest at least P10,000 in exchange for a 30% monthly return for life, without having to do anything other than invest and wait for the payout,” it said.
SEC also found the organization to have employed a Ponzi scheme, an investment program that offers impossibly high returns and pays investors using the money contributed by later investors.
In 2017, the commission initially issued an advisory against Kapa, then later issued a cease and desist order on Feb. 14, 2019 and an order of revocation of the Kapa’s Certificate of Incorporation on April 3, 2019.
“In the interest of affected investors, the Commission, through the Anti-Money Laundering Council, likewise obtained a Freeze Order from the Court of Appeals on June 4, 2019 to preserve assets linked to KAPA,” SEC said.
SEC has also reiterated its reminder for the general public to exercise more caution and discernment as certain supporters and promoters of Kapa “peddled false information about the group’s supposed revival”.
In the same statement, SEC chairperson Emilio Aquino said: “It is about time that the people behind KAPA answer the criminal charges filed against them. May this serve as a reiteration of the Commission’s resolve to stamp out investment scams and shield the investing public from fraud and other abuses in the corporate sector.”
As of this writing, Kapa officials could not be reached for comment. (PNA)