DOJ to look into other violations by Rappler

admin   •   January 18, 2018   •   4049

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre (Left) & Rappler editor-in-chief, ‎Maria Ressa (Right)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) said it will look into other possible violations of the online news site, Rappler.

“It will not be limited to the administrative law, Anti-Dummy Law but we are going to see if there are other laws violated,” said Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre.

This was after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked the franchise of said online news site which is known to be critical of the government.

The SEC alleged that Rappler violated the Anti-Dummy Law, which states that a local media network should be 100-percent owned and operated by Filipino citizens.

The Justice Secretary insists the DOJ’s move is not intended to restrict the freedom of media entities in the country.

Aguirre noted that the issue is on the ownership of Rappler and not about freedom of the press.

“You cannot say it’s politically motivated. Besides, let’s just see. Do not put any insinuation or suspicion. Let’s look into the prohibition of the Constitution,” he said.

“It’s as if you’re saying that it’s the directive of the administration, far from it,” Aguirre added.

On the other hand, Rappler earlier said they will fight the case in the court.

They said that the SEC was being unfair in releasing its decision without knowing their side. — Rajel Adora | UNTV News & Rescue

SEC halts operations of 11 online lending apps

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday ordered 11 online lending applications to stop its operations following complaints about unreasonable, and abusive lending and collection practices.

The order, issued by SEC on Sept. 20, covers the following:

  • Cash Whale
  • Cash 100
  • Cashafin
  • CashFlyer
  • CashMaya
  • Cashope
  • Cashwarm
  • Cashwow
  • Creditpeso
  • ET Easy Loan
  • Peso2Go

The SEC said that based on the findings of its Corporate Governance and Finance Department, the said online lending applications were run by unlicensed operators.

Based on investigation, the commission’s Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) also found that these lending applications employ abusive collection practices that subject users to public humiliation and ridicule, high-interest rates, unreasonable terms and conditions, misrepresentations as to non-collection of charges and fees, and violation of their right to privacy, among others.

Probe results showed the unauthorized lenders managed to access personal information kept in a borrower’s mobile phone, such as the contact numbers, Facebook accounts, and email addresses.

The unauthorized lenders then used such information to exact prompt payment.

In many cases, the unauthorized lenders would send a text message to the borrower’s contacts to inform them about the borrower’s indebtedness and supposed refusal to pay the amount due.

In other cases, the borrower would be threatened of legal action or public shaming on social media if payment is not made.

“The rude, high-pressure methods of collection, misrepresentations, and unreasonable terms and conditions imposed by said online lending operators and their agents and representatives exemplify such practices that as a matter of policy, the State seeks to prevent,” the commission said.

The SEC also ordered the said online lending operators to cease from offering and advertising their business online and to remove promotional presentations from the internet.

“The SEC enjoined the owners and operators of the online lending applications, their agents, representatives and promoters, the owners of their hosting sites and all persons acting for and on their behalf to immediately cease and desist under pain of contempt from engaging in, promoting and facilitating unauthorized lending activities,” the agency said.

The regulatory body also directed all persons and entities carrying out, abetting or promoting lending business or similar activities without the requisite license “to immediately cease and desist from engaging in such lending activities until they have incorporated and have secured the requisite certificate of authority to operate as lending or financing companies.”

“Section 4 of Republic Act No. 9474, or the Lending Company Regulation Act of 2007, requires that a lending company be established only as a corporation. It further provides that ‘no lending company shall conduct business unless granted an authority to operate by the SEC,’” it said.

The agency warned that anyone engaging in the lending business without a valid subsisting authority to operate from the SEC may face penalties, including fines up to P50,000 or imprisonment of six months to 10 years or both, under the Lending Company Regulation Act.

The SEC earlier issued a cease and desist order against 19 online lending applications, namely Instant Pera, QuickPera, Lendmo Philippines, Binixo, CashBus, Cashcat, Cashuttle, Crazy Loan, Flash Cash, Happy2Peso, Hatulong, MeLoan, MoneyTree Quick Loan, Pera Express, Pera4u, Peramart, PesoLending, QuickPeso and Umbrella.

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Panelo to file libel charges against INQUIRER.net, Rappler

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 3, 2019

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo has announced he will file libel charges against online publications INQUIRER.net and Rappler.

This is due to their “malicious” reports about Panelo’s referral letter on former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez’s executive clemency plea.

According to Panelo, the same media outlets reported that he “recommended” the release of the former mayor. He clarified that he only “referred” it to the Bureau of Pardons and Parole (BPP).

READ: BPP: Panelo referred Sanchez’s clemency application

He is referring to Rappler’s article, “Panelo endorsed Sanchez’s letter for executive clemency.” INQUIRER.net also posted a tweet on the same issue.

“As I earlier said in the press briefing this morning, those articles are reeking with malice and it’s libelous in nature because it tends to impute an act to discredit me in public and to tarnish my honor,” he said.

“In view of this, I’m filing a libel case against net Inquirer and Rappler for publishing these malicious articles,” he added.

Panelo also said they are already drafting the said complaints.

In a statement, Rappler said the complaint is merely a diversionary tactic.

Rappler also calls on Panelo to answer the questions about his possible conflicts of interest.—AAC

SEC warns public against KAPA’s false claims

Robie de Guzman   •   August 28, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Securities and Exchange Commission is urging the public to exercise more caution and discernment amid disinformation campaigns being launched by investment scammers.

In a statement, the SEC particularly noted the false claims by Kapa-Community Ministry International (KAPA) on social media. Supposedly, the group was poised to secure the necessary licenses to resume its operations.

The commission said that recently, KAPA falsely claimed that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) released a statement purportedly approving its investment scheme and questioning delays on the part of the SEC.

The Central Bank has refuted such claim in a statement.

KAPA also falsely claimed that it already filed with the SEC an application for a secondary license to sell and offer for sale securities to the public.

But the commission said it has not received any application for a secondary license from KAPA, as verified by the SEC Company Registration and Monitoring Department (CRMD).

“Besides, KAPA does not have a juridical personality to make such application,” it said.

On April 3, 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.

“KAPA, formerly registered with the SEC as a nonstock corporation, had solicited investments from the public without securing a secondary license first. Worse, the group had employed a Ponzi scheme,” the commission said.

Under its scheme, the SEC said 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.

Section 8 of Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code, provides that “securities shall not be sold or offered for sale or distribution within the Philippines, without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the Commission.”

Section 26 of the same Code further prohibits fraudulent transactions, including Ponzi schemes where investors are lured with impossibly high returns and paid using money contributed by other investors

Section 28 further states that no person shall engage 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.

In this light, the SEC said that those acting as salesman, broker or agent may be prosecuted and held criminally liable. They may also face a maximum fine of P5 million or imprisonment of 21 years or both, under the Securities Regulation Code.

On June 18, the commission filed a criminal complaint against KAPA, its founder and president Joel A. Apolinario, trustee Margie A. Danao, corporate secretary Reyna L. Apolinario and other promoters of the investment scam.

“We enjoin the investing public to be more discerning with and critical of any promises and persuasions made by fraudsters,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino said.

“When presented an investment opportunity, take time to verify the legitimacy of the company, especially their authority to solicit investments from the public, and to understand how the promised returns will be generated and delivered.”

The commission advised those who have invested money in KAPA to file complaints with the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department at Secretariat Building, PICC Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City with telephone numbers (02) 818-6337 and (02) 818-5324.

Affected investors may also visit the SEC Davao City Extension Office at SDC Building, Purok 13, Maa Road, Maa, Davao City; call (082) 298-2170 and (082) 298- 1893; or email kjpestares@sec.gov.ph. In Cagayan de Oro City, they may visit the Commission at SEC Building, corner 14th and Tomasco Del Lara Street; call (088) 857-4325 and (088) 857-7225; or email rvegypto@sec.gov.ph.

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