TACLOBAN CITY – Both offices of Kapa Community Ministry International Inc. and Organico Agribusiness Ventures Inc. in this city were already abandoned when the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), together with officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission raided their offices.
Armed with search warrants issued by 1st Vice Executive Judge RTC Branch 20, Manila dated June 7, the NBI arrived at an almost empty office with a few documents and certificates left in Kapa-Tacloban Branch.
Shiela Meneses, the owner of the office space in Brgy. 77, Marasbaras, said she did not know that the offices have been abandoned since the occupants have stayed there for 5 months already and never missed their rent.
Donors/investors also trooped to the office, only to see an almost empty office not knowing the whereabouts of Kapa employees.
Jo Tomada, an 80-year old retiree from Ormoc City, said he invested Php 50,000 from his business on March 7, but said he is not worried because Kapa’s business is stable.
“I’ve heard about Kapa last year. Some of my friends became millionaires, no one invited me, but I willingly joined. I am not worried because they are engaged in fishing, mining, water refilling stations, gasoline stations, poultry, among others so they are stable. They will just cool down for awhile,” he said.
The Organico office, meanwhile, in Brgy. 110, Utap, Tacloban City was also empty and had a “closed for renovation” signage when the authorities arrived. The occupants moved out, bringing with them documents, computers and servers as early as Sunday (June 9) evening based on the security guard’s log.
An official from the Securities and Exchange Commission said the simultaneous operations aim to gather evidence against Kapa and Organico for filing of cases for violation of Section 8.1 in relation to Section 73 of RA No. 8799 or the Securities Regulation Code.
As to the investors/ donors, the official said they did not remiss in informing the public about investment schemes and scams.
“This is the sad reality, alam naman nila na even if it was termed as donation, they are fully aware that they would receive something in return. These entities need to secure secondary license from SEC before soliciting investments,” he explained.
“Technically kapag donation dapat walang kapalit, and yet you will see donors lining up after 30 days, ibig sabihin they are expecting something in return,” he noted.
He said people are likely to engage in affinity fraud because they are perpetrated by people with moral ascendancy.
“The problem is greed, they are always after the money,” he said.
According to the official, SEC has already issued a cease and desist order against Kapa, which was only given a primary license, while Organico is not a registered entity.
“I do not believe that they are convinced that it is just donation because it’s just a name. They are using the name to justify their excuse that the SEC should not go after them because it is a religious institution. They are harping on the concept of religious freedom enshrined in the constitution,” he said referring to Kapa.
He added that as far as they are concerned, “the name does not count, but the nature of the transaction is what they are after.”
He said that Kapa is a religious institution with no legitimate business, and their supposed businesses were only registered early this year – all of them registered as single proprietorship despite operating since 2017.
“We will be filing charges against Kapa, but not against Organico as far as Region 8 is concerned because we do not have evidence to back our charges in court since the office was empty,” he said.
However, he expresses optimism that other operating teams from other regions would be able to gather evidence enough to prosecute Organico.
PMaj. Duane Francis Ducducan, CIDG 8 chief investigator, will proceed with the regular filing of cases against the two investment companies with the SEC as plaintiffs.