THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has revoked the registration of Senior Citizens and Elderly Welfare Club of the Philippines, Inc. (SCEW) for selling fraudulent identification (ID) cards similar to senior citizen cards.

The IDs it offered allegedly entitles the card holder to 20% discounts and other benefits under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.

Under the law, only Philippine residents aged 60 and above are considered “senior citizens or elderly.”

With SCEW’s scheme, it encourages “junior citizens” aged 40 to 59 years old to purchase its ID cards for a “lifetime membership” fee worth P300 to P600. There were also reports that the entity sold booklets akin to those issued to senior citizens.

SCEW is registered with the SEC as a nonstock corporation, but it does not hold power to issue membership cards that would allow members to avail of privileges for senior citizens under R.A. 9994.

The SEC said it received numerous reports about SCEW and queries regarding the legitimacy of its scheme.

When the SEC held its surveillance operation on Sept. 4, 2019, it met SCEW’s president, Restituto E. Perez, Jr. who explained that “what the SCEW was doing was only to help the Filipino people recover the taxes that they paid.”

The SEC further reported that Mr. Perez said he was merely “helping the people in bridging the gap and inequality in the grant of benefits to the other age group other [than] that [of] the senior citizens.”

According to an SEC advisory issued by the end of September 2019, SCEW’s membership card scheme was already widespread with over 140 satellites across the country distributing the cards. Apparently, these IDs may also be availed of abroad.

“The holders of these IDs would be able to avail of the discounts and privileges of the senior citizens to the detriment of the establishments, which are mandated to honor the senior citizen’s card,” the SEC said in its advisory.

The SEC said it worked with different government agencies for the case, such as the Office of the Standards Bureau of the Department of Social Welfare, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Development and the Officer of the Senior Citizens’ Affairs of the Quezon City Hall, as SCEW’s office address is within the city.

The regulator said SCEW’s scheme of selling membership cards that also works as a discount card to entitle the holder to the privileges under R.A. 9994 is “considered a serious misrepresentation.”

“The activities of SCEW in selling SCEW ID cards with a promise of entitlement to the 20% discount is considered an ultra vires act and therefore, constitutes serious misrepresentation as to what the corporation can do to the great prejudice or damage to the general public which is a ground for the revocation of a corporation’s primary franchise or certificate of registration/incorporation,” the SEC said. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte