General Santos City is helpless in stopping a religious group from continuing to recruit investors into its Ponzi scheme following a court order in favor of the alleged investment scammer.
City legal officer Armand Clarin has shelved the discussions on the operations of the Kapa Community Ministry International Inc. afteBranch 35 of the General Santos City Regional Trial Court Regional Trial Court Branch 35 barred the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) from issuing a cease-and-desist order (CDO) against the religious group.
Kapa, which is registered as a religious organization, was earlier flagged by SEC for reportedly accepting investments in the form of donations, promising a monthly interest of 30 percent.
The court ruled that only regular courts have jurisdiction over constitutional rights on exercising freedom of religion while the SEC’s power was limited to securities trading. Kapa posted a P50 million bond after obtaining its preliminary injunction against the SEC.
He said that while the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) had ordered local government units to close down the offices of Kapa, it could not stop the group from taking in more investors.
Brig. Gen. Eliseo Tam Rasco, regional director of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-12, said Friday they have partnered with concerned agencies to protect residents from the rampant Ponzi-like investment activities.
The police held a meeting Thursday with the National Bureau of Investigation, National Police Commission, Department of Trade and Industry, Cooperative Development Authority, city government officials, city chamber of commerce and the local bankers’ association to beef up measures to crack down on investment scams.
“We called the meeting to determine how to approach the problem because it’s not a police matter alone,” he said in a radio interview.
The police official said they agreed to intensify monitoring and coordinate their actions, especially in terms of law enforcement. He said they will continually issue warnings and educate residents regarding the risks involving fraudulent investment schemes.
Among the matters discussed during the meeting were the latest updates regarding the nearly P2-billion Pulis Paluwagan Movement (PPM), which victimized thousands of residents and police personnel here.
PPM, which offered monthly interest payouts of 120 percent, reportedly operated for some time at the city police headquarters here before it collapsed after several months of operation last February.
Rasco said at least 15 cases were already filed against the alleged brains of the scam, which included several police officials and personnel.
Also discussed were the operations of other investment schemes under different business names that were offering payouts of 30 to 400 percent per month. (PNA)