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DOJ forms panel to conduct preliminary probe on NBI raps vs. KAPA.

By Jeffrey Damicog

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has picked a panel of prosecutors who will conduct the preliminary investigation of the complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against Kapa-Community Ministry Inc. for allegedly engaging in an investment scam.

Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento has issued an order which named five persons who will form the panel.

The panel will be chaired by Assistant State Prosecutor Ma. Lourdes Uy.

The other four members of the panel are Assistant State Prosecutors Consuelo Corazon Pazziuagan, Xerxes Garcia, and Jeanette Dacpano, and Assistant Prosecution Attorney Luis Miguel Flores.

In his order, Malcontento instructed the panel that, following the preliminary investigation, "when warranted by evidence, filed the information before the appropriate courts."

The NBI filed the complaint before the DOJ last July 7 and named as respondents Kapa founder and president Joel Apolinario and 13 of its officials.

"It is respectfully recommended that the following KAPA Incorporators, Directors and/or Officers be filed criminal cases for 5 counts of violations of Sections 8 and 26 in relation to 73 of the Securities and Regulations Code (SRC), and 8 counts of Syndicated Estafa as defined and penalized in P.D. (Presidential Decree) 1689," read the letter complaint signed by NBI Director Dante Gierran.

Aside from Apolinario, the other respondents named in the complaint-affidavit are Kapa corporate secretary Reyna Apolinario; treasurer Modie Dagala; directors Benigno Tipan Jr., Marnilyn Maturan, Ricky Taer, and Margie Danao; and incorporators Nonita Urbano, Junnie Apolinario, Nelio Nino, Maria Pella Sevilla, Jouelyn Del Castillo, Cristobal Barabad, and Joji Jusay.

"The modus/scheme of KAPA is basically solicitation of money/investment from the public in the guise of 'donation' with a promise of perpetual monthly interest equivalent to 30% return/interest in the guise of 'blessings,'" Gierran explained in the complaint.

However, the NBI chief cited that, in the Certificate of Incorporation issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Kapa is registered as an independent religious corporation "but does not authorize it to undertake business activities requiring a Secondary License from this Commission..."

"KAPA is an organization/corporation that sells and/or offers security/investment contracts to the general public without authority and license from the Securities and Exchange Commission," Gierran said.

"KAPA made it appear that the collection from the public of investment money is an act of a religious donation and the grant of investment is a form of religious blessing," he added.

Gierran pointed out that Kapa is "using religion to shield its organization from its unlawful solicitation of investments from the public through the employment of deceits, false pretenses and/or fraudulent acts."

"The foregoing allegations are even bolstered when the NBITeam, went to KAPA Offices to investigate and conduct case build-up. They personally witnessed the investment scam/pyramiding scheme activities of KAPA particularly when they invested money to KAPA Offices as poseur investors," Gierran cited.

Apart from the testimonies of its undercover agents, Gierran said three Kapa members have also filed complaints with the NBI and "executed their 'Sinumpaang Salaysay' to attest on the investment scam/pyramiding scheme activities of KAPA."

"All of them were deceived from investing money to KAPA on the belief that the latter is a legitimate organization. As a result, they suffered damages equivalent to the amount they invested including uncollected interests," he added.

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Department of Justice (MANILA BULLETIN)
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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Jul 23, 2019
Words:560
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