By Chito A. Chavez and Martin Sadongdong
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has compelled all local government units (LGU) to revoke the business permit of Kapa Community Ministry International Incorporated and its subsidiaries to put an end to its operation and “to prevent the public from being duped into investing their hard-earned money into an apparently fraudulent investment scheme.”
This developed as the Philippine National Police (PNP) teamed up with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to dismantle the operation of investment firms involved in similar get-rich-quick activities.
President Duterte has ordered the operation of Kapa closed and the arrest of its operators for engaging in large-scale estafa which is a non-bailable offense.
The directive of DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año came after the SEC revoked Kapa’s certificate of registration and secured over P100 million of the group’s assets in accordance with the asset freeze order issued by the Court of Appeals (CA).
“Marami na ang naloko at marami pa sa ating mga kababayan ang maloloko sa investment scam na ito kung hindi ito aaksyunan ng mga mayor. Siguruhin ninyong hindi na magpapatuloy ang operasyon ng Kapa (A lot of people were swindled and a lot more will be victimized by this scheme if the mayors won’t act on this one. Make sure to end the operation of Kaya),” said Año.
In a memorandum issued last June 13, the DILG Chief says it is the duty of city and municipal mayors under Republic Act 7160 of the Local Government Code “to issue licenses and permits and suspend or revoke the same for any violation of the conditions upon which said licenses or permits had been issued pursuant to law or ordinance.”
He also pointed out that a business or mayor’s permit is not a right but a privilege granted by the State. Año cited the ruling of the Supreme Court that a business permit is subject to the regulation of the State and may be revoked or withdrawn if there is cause to do so.
“In the case of Kapa, it is very clear that it has abused the privilege given by the government as it has ventured in an enterprise which promised profits that it cannot fulfill,” he noted.
Kapa started its operation three years ago in Bislig, Surigao Del Sur and expanded across Mindanao before reaching the Visayas and Luzon.
15 to 400 per cent interest
Police Brigadier General Ferdinand Divina, deputy director of the Directorate for Intelligence (DI), said the PNP, NBI and SEC have since implemented 12 search warrants against various corporations and companies that operate like the Kapa-Community Ministry International Inc.
“There were several search warrants, five from the CIDG [Criminal Investigation and Detection Group] and seven from the NBI and these were conducted in a number of regions namely Regions 7, 8, 11, 13 and also one in Region 2. So makita ninyo na nationwide yung kinonduct natin because this is really a concern,” Divina said.
The subject of search warrants, according to Divina, were the Organico Agribusiness Ventures Corp. based in Cebu City; Ada Farm Agriventures in Mandaue City, Cebu; Rigen Marketing and Ever Arm Any Marketing.
According to PNP Chief Police General Oscar Albayalde, the companies and corporations were allegedly luring unsuspecting victims to invest money with a promised return of 15 to 400 percent interest within a month.
“Kahit sino, kahit pumunta ka sa SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] saka sa DTI [Department of Trade and Industry] or kung saan ka magtanong, even a businessman would say that’s quite impossible, to provide 15 to 400 percent interest monthly at that sa perang ii-invest mo,” he stated.
Police Major General Amador Corpus, director of the PNP-CIDG, said most of the 15 companies and corporations that they operated on have initial permits from the SEC to operate as a corporation.
“Most of these companies may permit po from the SEC as a corporation. Ang violation mostly is secondary permit, the sale of securities,” Corpus explained.
“Ang first permit po is as a corporation. They need a secondary permit to engage in the sale of securities or what we call investment po,” he added.
Corpus said the PNP found documents which proved the operations of the investment companies and corporations.
He said the documents will be used in the filing of cases against the investment companies and corporations for violation of the Securities Regulation Code.
“Sila (SEC) po ang magfa-file ng kaso and we will be assisting them in the filing of cases for violation of the Securities Regulation Code,” Corpus stressed.
“As of now, the SEC and other law enforcement units are preparing documents for the filing of appropriate cases against all these investment scam companies,” he concluded.