By Jeffrey Damicog
Kapa-Community Ministry Inc. founder and president Joel Apolinario and his two co-respondents have been allowed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Monday (July 15) more time to respond to the criminal complaint alleging that they are involved in an investment scam.
“We have to request for an extension because we still have to thoroughly study the records considering that the documents that were furnished to us are quite voluminous,” said lawyer Mae Divina Gracia who is the legal counsel of Apolinario and his two co-accused, Reyna Apolinario and Rene Catubigan.
“And we also have to fly to Saranggani to conduct the necessary interviews,” she added.
During the preliminary investigation hearing held at the DOJ, the panel of prosecutors chaired by Assistant State Prosecutors Zenamar Machacon-Caparros granted the appeal of Gracia to allow her clients to file counter-affidavits this July 29.
Gracia’s clients were also permitted to swear their respective counter-affidavits before government prosecutors in Sarangani province.
None of the eight respondents were present during the hearing and only Gracia was there to represent her three clients before the panel.
The panel is currently conducting the preliminary investigation of the complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which accused Kapa of violating Sections 8, 26, 28 of Republic Act No. 8799, the Securities Regulation Code (SRC).
Aside from the three, the other respondents in the complaint are Margie Danao, Catherine Evangelista, Marisol Diaz, Adelfa Fernandico, and Moises Mopia.
“Those who sell or offer securities to the public without the necessary license may be held criminally liable and accordingly sanctioned or penalized pursuant to the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of the SEC vs. Oudine Santos on March 19, 2014 and within the definition of securities solicitation in the 2015 SRC Rules,” the SEC previously stated.
It said those who are found guilty “face a maximum fine of P5 million or imprisonment of seven to 21 years, or both.”
The SEC also found Kapa to have employed “a Ponzi scheme, an investment program that offers impossibly high returns and pays investors using the money contributed by other investors.”
“This qualifies as a fraudulent transaction prohibited under Section 26 (26.3) of the SRC,” it stated.
Under the scheme, the SEC explained Kapa “enticed the public to ‘donate’ at least P10,000 in exchange for a 30% monthly ‘blessing’ or ‘love gift’ for life, without having to do anything other than invest and wait for the payout.”