THE SECURITIES and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Davao office has issued a public warning against putting money into or acting as coordinator for MER’S Business Center, which does not have a permit for investment operations.

In an advisory issued over the weekend, the agency said MER’S is not registered as a corporation or partnership, much less holds a license to sell securities.

“An investment scheme is illegal when entities or individuals are taking in investments from the public without a secondary license or license to sell securities from the Commission,” it said.

MER’S, headed by Reynaldo and Roger Abing Camingawan, has its head office in General Santos City and has been verified to have set up branches in the different parts of Davao Region.

The SEC-Davao noted that it has previously flagged Roger Abing Camingawan for spreading “false news” about Kapa-Community Ministry International (KAPA), which the agency’s head office has labeled as possibly “the largest investment scam in the Philippines in recent years.”

“Roger Camingawan was identified as one of the persons spreading false news that the cases filed by the SEC for violation of the Securities Regulation Code were already dismissed… (he) was also mentioned as untruthfully claiming that KAPA has been registered as a crowdfunding entity under the Rules Governing Crowdfunding,” the Davao office said.

It further warned that “those who invite or recruit other people to join or invest in this venture or offer investment contracts or securities to the public may be held criminally liable or accordingly sanctioned or penalized” under existing laws. — Marifi S. Jara