KAPA-COMMUNITY Ministry International (KAPA) is still facing fraud charges for committing one of the country’s biggest investment scam, while a cease-and-desist order against the group remains active, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said Friday.

In an advisory issued on Thursday, the corporate regulator warned the public of a misinformation drive which claims that all criminal cases against the religious group have been dismissed in the middle of an ongoing pandemic.

The SEC maintained the criminal charges filed against KAPA for violations of the Securities Regulation Code (SRC) are still pending in various courts.

“Amid the rampant misinformation and disinformation, the SEC reiterated its advice for the public to exercise caution when presented with reports about KAPA to avoid falling into the trap of what could be one of the country’s most notorious scammers,” it said in a statement.

The SEC said KAPA Founder and President Joel A. Apolinario, along with KAPA Trustee Margie A. Danao and Corporate Secretary Reyna L. Apolinario, have only been given conditional and temporary liberty after posting bail.

According to the SEC, various online channels by supporters of the group have uploaded an alleged telephone interview with Mr. Apolinario, falsely claiming that all cases against KAPA have been junked.

It noted commentaries by Danny Mangahas and Roger Camingawan have been circulating which discussed the effects of the alleged dismissal of KAPA’s cases.

Mr. Camingawan was said to have claimed that the cease-and-desist order issued by the SEC has become void.

The agency clarified that the order became permanent in March 2019 and still remains in effect today, while KAPA’s certificate of incorporation was revoked in April 2019.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) earlier charged the KAPA officials for violating Sections 8(8.1), 26.1, and 28 of the SRC before the Bislig City Regional Trial Court Branch 29.

The Justice department also charged Marisol S. Diaz, Adelfa Fernandico, Moises Mopia and Reniones D. Catubigan for violation of Section 26.1 of the SRC for promoting the investment scam.

Further, the DoJ indicted Ms. Diaz before the Antipolo Regional Trial Court for violation of Section 28 of the SRC. It filed similar Information against Mr. Mopia and Ms. Fernandico with the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 93.

Aside from fraud, Mr. Apolinario is also facing charges for a non-bailable syndicated estafa before the Cagayan de Oro City Regional Trial Court Branch 21, which issued a warrant of arrest against him on February 18.

On Feb. 19 and 27, Mr. and Ms. Apolinario, and Mr. Catubigan respectively surrendered and posted bail for their temporary liberty while facing the fraud charges.

Meanwhile, the SEC flagged more groups for peddling illegal securities to the public. These were Aquitek Food Trading, MR Lifestyle E-Comm Co. (formerly Don Heraldo Mr. Lifestyle E-Comm Co.), Payadstars/PayAdStars, I Earn01 Trading, Inc., also known as iEarn, and R3DCON Philippines Corp. and Investor’s Choice.

It said the groups neither registered securities nor secured secondary licenses to solicit and to take investments from the public, as required under the SRC. — Adam J. Ang