MANILA Embattled pastor Joel Apolinario, along with other officials of the controversial Kapa International Ministry Inc., did not show up at the hearing on the charges filed against them by government regulators before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday.
Lawyer Jose P. Aquino, of the Securities and Exchanges Commission Enforcement Investor Protection Department (SEC-EIPD), along with witnesses Lester Bautista and Bryant Symonde Chang, appeared and was sworn in by the DOJ panel chaired by Assistant State Prosecutor Zenamar J. Machacon-Caparros in connection with the complaints they filed against the group's officials.
Caparros informed the complainants that in case the respondents continue to snub the DOJ hearings, the cases would be resolved on the basis solely of the SEC complaint.
In a chance interview with newsmen after the hearing, Aquino said they are working with other government agencies to go after an unnamed individual who, according to reports, is supposedly now in possession of the bulk of the group's funds.
Aquino, however, declined to comment when asked for details, as well as on the possibility that the money is still in the country.
"There are other agencies who are more competent to answer that question," Aquino said.
During the hearing, Aquino informed the prosecution panel that the addresses officially stated by the Kapa officials in its General Information Statement (GIS) was used by the SEC in its complaint, even as the DOJ inquired as to the possibility of other known addresses of the respondents.
On Monday, the Davao Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 16 issued a precautionary hold departure order (PHDO) against all eight officers and board members led by Apolinario.
Also covered by the PHDO are Kapa trustee Margie A. Danao and corporate secretary Reyna L. Apolinario, Marisol M. Diaz, Adelfa Fernandico, Moises Mopia, Catherine Evangelista and Rene Catubigan.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier sought the criminal prosecution of the officials for engaging in the investment scheme without authority from the regulatory body.
Kapa has enticed its members to donate at least PHP10,000 in exchange for a 30 percent monthly blessing or love gift for life, without having to do anything other than invest and wait for the payout.
The SEC said the scheme being perpetrated by Kapa 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.
It 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 SEC is also asking the DOJ to prosecute Kapa for employing a Ponzi scheme, which is considered a fraudulent transaction prohibited under Section 26 of the SRC. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency