By Denise A. Valdez
THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said criminal charges had been filed against Kapa-Community Ministry International (KAPA) and its officers for the illegal sale of securities.
In a statement on Thursday, the country’s corporate regulator said the Department of Justice (DoJ) had filed a criminal case against KAPA at the Bislig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 29. KAPA is being charged of “willfully, unlawfully and criminally engaging in the selling or offering for sale or distribution of securities to the general public without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the SEC.”
The DoJ is also charging KAPA Founder and President Joel A. Apolinario, Trustee Margie A. Danao and Corporate Secretary Reyna L. Apolinario of violating provisions of the Securities Regulation Code (SRC) and indicted Marisol S. Diaz, Adelfa Fernandico, Moises Mopia and Reniones D. Catubigan for involvement in the alleged investment scam.
Aside from the case at the Bislig City RTC, the DoJ has filed a case against Ms. Diaz at the Rizal RTC for violation of an SRC provision, and a similar case against Mr. Mopia and Ms. Fernandico at the Quezon City RTC Branch 93.
The SEC said the judges are expected to order the arrest of the officers soon, as a warrant has already been issued by the Quezon City RTC on Dec. 2 against Ms. Fernandico.
“We are committed to see the criminal proceedings against KAPA through to the end. We will pursue everyone involved in the investment scam that played havoc with the future of our fellow Filipinos, including those who continue to attempt to perpetuate it,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino was quoted in the statement as saying.
The criminal cases against KAPA and its leaders follow a trail through the efforts of the SEC since 2017 to hold the group liable for allegedly scamming an estimated P50 billion from its members.
KAPA is supposedly operating as a religious group that collects P10,000 per head from its members in exchange of a 30% monthly return for life. The SEC said this is equivalent to an investment contract, which in order to operate legally, KAPA had to secure a separate registration for.
Since KAPA was not able to follow the provisions of the SRC, it is due to be punished with a maximum fine of P5 million or imprisonment of seven to 21 years, or both. But the SEC said the DoJ is pushing for a heavier penalty because of the use of Facebook and YouTube in its investment scheme.
“Considering the use of Facebook and YouTube in the illegal investment scheme, the DOJ recommended that the penalty to be imposed against KAPA, its officers and agents be one degree higher than what is prescribed by the SRC, pursuant to Section 6 of Republic Act No. 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012,” it said.