CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned individuals not to invest their money in groups or individuals offering interests higher than what banks and other financial institutions give to their clients.
“If it’s too good to be true, please investigate before investing so you will not regret if your money disappears,” said lawyer Frederick Enopia, the officer-in-charge of the SEC regional office serving the Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions.
Enopia said they have been receiving reports that a group called “KAPA” or “Kabus Padatuon” (enrich the poor) has been enticing people to shell out their money not as an investment but as “donation” since it has been registered as an “independent religious corporation.”
KAPA also operates the KAPA-Co Convenience Store and General Merchandise and KAPA Worldwide Ministry, SEC said.
The SEC national office has recently issued a cease-and-desist order against KAPA and its subsidiaries “after finding substantial evidence that it has been offering and selling securities in the form of investment contracts without the necessary license.”
Although KAPA is registered as a corporation, SEC said that its certificate of incorporation dated March 3, 2017, explicitly stated that “it is not authorized to undertake business activities requiring a secondary license such as acting as broker or dealer in securities, investment house, and closed-end or open-end investment company.”
“Despite its lack of authority to offer and sell securities, KAPA recruited and encouraged members to ‘donate’ any amount in exchange for a 30% monthly return, based on the ‘Certificate of Membership with Deed of Donation’ members received upon joining,” SEC said.
Acting on numerous complaints from individuals, Enopia said they sent an investigator from SEC to validate the reports in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, sometime last year.
The SEC investigator, Enopia said, was able to verify the complaints coming from KAPA members.
The National Bureau of Investigation has also conducted its own probe on KAPA.
Some members complained that they did not receive their monthly return, while others suspected that the group may be involved in an alleged investment scam.
The evidence compiled on the ground, he said, became the basis for the commission en banc to issue the cease-and-desist order on Feb. 14, 2019.
Enopia said the order is nationwide in scope and it can be implemented in areas where KAPA is operating, especially in the Caraga region, General Santos, and Davao.
In Northern Mindanao, KAPA has reportedly been inviting potential investors in Bukidnon, he said.
The order has directed KAPA and its officials and those connected with it to cease from promoting its investment scheme through the internet and remove promotional presentations online.
“The SEC also barred KAPA, its affiliates, and subsidiaries, including its directors and officers, representatives and the persons acting for and in their behalf from disposing of their remaining properties and other assets for the benefit of the investors,” the commission said in the order.
The agency cited section 8 of Republic Act 8799 or the Securities Regulation Code why it is disallowing KAPA from selling properties and assets.
Section 8 states that “securities shall not be sold or offered for sale or distribution within the Philippines, without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the Commission.”
For his part, KAPA founder Pastor Joel Apolinario in a statement posted on YouTube dated Feb. 23, 2019, said SEC has wrongfully investigated his group.
Apolinario said all the complaints that were filed against KAPA have all been dismissed, save for one.
The leader also accused his detractors as the ones making noise to smear KAPA and his name.
“They broadcast what they see as wrong, but only whisper the good things that KAPA has done,” Apolinario said, referring to his critics. (davaotoday.com)