MANILA Lawyers of the embattled Kapa Community Ministry International Inc. on Monday asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) for more time to formally answer the criminal charges filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against its officials over allegations of running a multi-billion peso Ponzi-scheme.
"Due to the voluminous documents involved and threats to my client we would like to request more time to file a counter affidavit, Kapa defense lawyer May Divinagracia said in a media interview.
Citing the same threats to the security of Kapa founder Pastor Joel Apolinario, Divinagracia also asked permission to allow the Kapa officials to swear on their affidavit before the Saranggani provincial prosecutor instead of the DOJ panel handling the case.
Divinagracia, however, declined to give details on the supposed threats. The Kapa defense panel also includes former party-list Rep. Tricia Velasco-Catera.
DOJ panel head State Prosecutor Zenamar Machacon-Caparros gave the defense a non-extendable period of until the next hearing on July 29.
The Davao Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 16 earlier issued a precautionary hold departure order (PHDO) against all eight officers and board members led by Apolinario.
Also covered by the travel ban are Kapa trustee Margie A. Danao and corporate secretary Reyna L. Apolinario, Marisol M. Diaz, Adelfa Fernandico, Moises Mopia, Catherine Evangelista, and Rene Catubigan.
Kapa has enticed the public to donate at least PHP10,000 in exchange for a 30-percent monthly return referred to as blessing or love gift for life.
The SEC said the scheme involved the sale or offering for sale or distribution to the public of securities, in the form of investment contracts as defined under Section 3 of the Securities Regulation Code (SRC).
It said the respondents violated Section 8 (8.1) of the SRC, which prohibits the selling or offering for sale or distribution of securities without a registration statement filed and duly approved by the SEC.
The government regulatory body added that the respondents violated Section 8 of the SRC which states that no person shall be engaged in the business of buying or selling securities in the Philippines as a broker or dealer, or act as a salesman, or an associated person of any broker or dealer unless registered with the SEC.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) earlier filed syndicated estafa charges against the Kapa officials, including Apolinario. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency