Criminal raps vs KAPA active, SEC warns vs fake news

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has cautioned the public against falling for fake news about the supposed dismissal of fraud charges against Kapa- Community Ministry International (KAPA).

In an advisory issued on May 21, the Commission set the record straight: the criminal cases filed against KAPA for violations of Republic Act No. 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code, remain pending in various courts.

The SEC underscored that KAPA Founder and President Joel A. Apolinario, along with the group’s other officers, only managed to secure conditional and temporary liberty after posting bail.

To recall, prosecutors at the Department of Justice (DOJ) charged Mr. Apolinario, together with KAPA Trustee Margie A. Danao and Corporate Secretary Reyna L. Apolinario, before the Bislig City Regional Trial Court Branch 29 with violating Sections 8(8.1), 26.1 and 28 of the Securities Regulation Code.

The DOJ also indicted Marisol S. Diaz, Adelfa Fernandico, Moises Mopia and Reniones D. Catubigan for violation of Section 26.1 of the Securities Regulation Code for promoting the investment scam.

The DOJ further charged Diaz before the Antipolo Regional Trial Court for violation of Section 28 of the Securities Regulation Code. It filed similar Information against Mopia and Fernandico with the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 93.

On February 19 and 27, Mr. and Mrs. Apolinario, and Catubigan respectively surrendered and posted bail for their temporary liberty while facing the investment fraud charges filed by the DOJ.

The criminal proceedings stemmed from the complaint filed by the SEC on June 18, 2019, after finding KAPA to have enticed the public to invest at least P10,000 in exchange for a 30% monthly return for life, without having to do anything other than invest and wait for the payout.

The SEC also found KAPA to have employed a Ponzi scheme, an investment program that offers impossibly high returns and pays investors using the money contributed by later investors.

Aside from the fraud charges initiated by the SEC, Mr. Apolinario faces charges for the non-bailable offense of syndicated estafa before the Cagayan de Oro City Regional Trial Court Branch 21.

The court on February 18 issued a warrant of arrest against Mr. Apolinario, along with Junnie G. Apolinario, Maria Pella B. Sevilla, Cristobal R. Barabad, Nonita S. Urbano, Nelia V. Nino, Jouelyn A. Del Castillo, Joji A. Jusay and Albert P. Buhangbuhang.

The Commission clarified that the cease and desist order against KAPA became permanent in March 2019 and, as such, remains in full force and effect. It added that the certificate of incorporation of KAPA was subsequently revoked in April 2019.