MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld its earlier decision declaring that the online news site Rappler is not fully owned by Filipinos.
In a resolution promulgated on February 21, 2019, CA rejected the plea of Rappler and its holding company, Rappler Holdings Corporation (RHC) to reverse its July 2018 decision to affirm the order of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in revoking its business articles of incorporation for alleged violation of ownership restrictions.
The SEC, in January 2018, cancelled Rappler’s registration for allegedly violating the constitutional requirement for mass media to be 100-percent Filipino-owned because it allowed Omidyar Network to hold Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDR).
The appellate court said in its ruling, that Rappler failed to raise any new argument, reiterating that there was no violation on the part of SEC when it revoked the online site’s registration due to ownership issue.
“After careful scrutiny of the instant motion, this court finds that it presents no compelling reason to justify the reconsideration of this court’s decision dated 26 July 2018. The arguments raised by petitioners are essentially the same as those that have already been discussed and were exhaustively passed upon in this Court’s decision,” the resolution read.
Rappler has long insisted that it is completely Filipino-owned and is not covered by a Philippine law prohibiting foreigners from owning a mass media entity.
The Court, however, said that Rappler is a mass media entity despite its argument that its online nature was not among the mass media acknowledged under the law, because its actions, as well as its articles of incorporations and by-law, stated that it is in the business not fully Filipino ownedof operating news, information and social network services.
CA also said that it needs further study on Omidyar Network’s action of donating all of its PDRs to Rappler staff, which Rappler claims to have already addressed what was previously found objectionable by SEC.
“It is incumbent upon the SEC to evaluate the terms and conditions of said alleged supervising donation and its legal effect, particularly, whether the same has the effect of mitigating, if not curing, the violation it found petitioners to have committed. If so, this may warrant a re-examination of the sanction of revocation of petitioners’ Certificates of Incorporation imposed by the SEC En Banc in the assailed decision,” CA said.
“In view of the said directive, this court will refrain from discussing the donation so as not to preempt the evaluation, and the subsequent finding and conclusion to be reached by the SEC. Besides, this court notes that petitioners are merely seeking partial reconsideration of this Court’s decision, which means that its ruling remanding the case and directing the SEC to conduct an evaluation of the legal effect of the alleged donation stands and binds petitioner,” the court concluded. – Robie de Guzman
MANILA, Philippines — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it will be implementing a zero face-to-face transaction policy in its offices in Metro Manila starting Thursday, January 13.
In a notice issued on January 11, the SEC said the policy will be enforced in its main office within the PICC Complex in Pasay City and former headquarters along EDSA in Mandaluyong City, in view of the fresh surge in COVID-19 cases in the region.
The policy will be in effect “until further notice.”
The commission said all applications for company registration, submissions of reportorial requirements, and other transactions will be accepted and processed through its online portals, email, courier and other remote means.
The SEC said it will maintain a skeleton workforce and implement other alternative work arrangements to ensure uninterrupted delivery of services despite the adjustments in its operations.
It advised the public to contact their hotline numbers or the concerned departments provided here for queries and other concerns.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it has imposed a moratorium on the registration of new online lending platforms (OLP) of financing and lending companies.
In a statement, the SEC said the moratorium takes effect on Friday, November 5.
The commission on November 2 issued SEC Memorandum Circular No. 10, Series of 2021, which provides for the Moratorium on New Online Lending Platforms, ahead of the release of new rules that will govern the licensing and registration of the OLPs of financing and lending companies.
“We are currently crafting new guidelines that will allow lending and financing companies to better address the needs of borrowers and, at the same time, plug loopholes that give rise to abusive and predatory practices,” SEC Chairperson Emilio Aquino said in the same statement.
“We have seen the emergence of financial technology companies that engage in predatory lending, taking advantage of those struggling financially during the pandemic. The Commission will work toward stamping out these abusive financing and lending companies that do nothing but bury borrowers in even more debt,” he added.
The SEC said that OLPs that have been recorded prior to the moratorium, may continue to operate and be used for online lending or financing.
“The Commission will subject the existing OLPs to strict monitoring, audit and review to ensure their compliance with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations,” it added.
To date, the SEC has cancelled the licenses of 35 financing/lending companies due to various violations of applicable rules and regulations.
The commission also said that it has revoked the certificate of registration of a total of 2,081 lending companies for their failure to secure the requisite certificate of authority, pursuant to Republic Act No. 9474, or the Lending Company Regulation Act of 2007.
At least 58 online lending applications have likewise been ordered to cease operations for lack of authority to operate as a lending or financing company, the SEC said.
MANILA, Philippines – A court in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur has ordered the arrest of Kapa Community Ministry International Inc. founder and other group executives on charges of investment fraud, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said Wednesday.
The Bislig City Regional Trial Court Branch 29 on February 11 issued warrants of arrest against Kapa founder and president Joel Apolinario, trustee Margie Danao and Corporate Secretary Reyna Apolinario along with promoter Marisol Diaz, Adelfa Fernandico, Moises Mopia and Reniones Catubigan.
In a statement, the SEC said the warrants of arrest were issued after prosecutors at the Department of Justice filed criminal charges against the group for violations of Republic Act 8799 or the Securities Regulation Code.
State prosecutors accused Kapa of “willfully, unlawfully and criminally” engaging in the selling or offering for sale or distribution of securities in the Philippines without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the SEC. Kapa officials were also accused of promoting the investment scam.
In April 2019, the SEC revoked KAPA’s certificate of incorporation for serious misrepresentation of what it could do or was doing to the great prejudice of or damage to the general public.
Under its scheme, KAPA enticed the public to “donate” P10,000 in exchange for a 30% monthly “blessing” or “love gift” for life, without having to do anything other than shell out money and wait for the promised payout.
In June last year, the commission filed a criminal complaint against KAPA, for employing a Ponzi scheme, an investment program that offers impossibly high returns and pays investors using the money contributed by later investors.
In the same month, the SEC secured a freeze order from the Court of Appeals covering all bank funds and assets linked to the group.
Separate warrants of arrest against Fernandico and Mopia were issued by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.
The SEC also reminded the public to exercise more caution and discernment as certain supporters and promoters of KAPA peddled false information about the group’s supposed revival.
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