Amid the growing number of reported investment scams, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a new proclamation making the second week of November as “Investor Protection Week”.

In Proclamation No. 846 he signed on November 15, Duterte directed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to lead the observance of Investor Protection Week.

“Due to the growing number of reported investment scams in the country, there is a need to reinforce efforts to inform and educate the public on financial literacy, investor rights and responsibilities, and risks of investment through the conduct of programs aimed at reducing the investing public’s vulnerability to fraudulent schemes,” the proclamation read.

All other departments, bureaus and agencies of the national government, including government-owned or controlled corporations and state universities and colleges, have been directed to assist the SEC in the conduct of programs, projects, and activities relative to the celebration.

Meanwhile, all local government units and the private sector are encouraged to do the same.

Kapa Scam

On June 8, Duterte ordered the shutdown of the Kapa Community Ministry International, Inc. (Kapa) over their alleged involvement in pyramiding schemes.

The SEC sued Kapa before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on June 18 for allegedly enticing the public to invest at least PHP10,000 in exchange for a 30 percent monthly “blessing” for life. Investors only had to wait for the payout.

This qualifies as a fraudulent transaction prohibited under Section 26 of the Securities Regulation Code (SRC).

The Commission, through the Anti-Money Laundering Council, also obtained a freeze order from the Court of Appeals to preserve assets linked to Kapa.

Last month, the DOJ recommended the filing of criminal cases before the courts after finding probable cause against Kapa for defrauding the investing public.

In a resolution issued on Sept. 25, 2019, state prosecutors found probable cause to charge Kapa, its founder and president Joel A. Apolinario, trustee Margie A. Danao and corporate secretary Reyna L. Apolinario for violations of Sections 8 (8.1), 26.1, and 28 of Republic Act No. 8799, or the SRC.

The DOJ said it also indicted Marisol M. Diaz, Adelfa Fernandico, Moises Mopia and Reniones Catubigan for promoting and participating in the unlawful public offering and/or selling of securities by Kapa. (PNA)