Ressa, six other Rappler execs face charges anew over anti-dummy law violation
Maris Federez • March 29, 2019 • 1476
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice charged Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and six other members of the board of directors of violation of the Anti-Dummy Law or Commonwealth Act No. 108 and the Securities and Regulations Code.
The charge filed before Pasig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 265, is in connection with Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) it issued to Omidyar Network Fund, LLC in 2015.
Along with Ressa, other members of Rappler Holdings Corporation facing charges are: Glenda Gloria, managing editor of Rappler, Manuel Ayala, Nico Jose Nolledo, James Bitanga, Felica Atienza, and James Velasquez.
The court is yet to release the copy of the full resolution to the public.
The case stemmed from the ruling of the Securities and Exchange Commission ordering the cancellation of the certificate of incorporation of the online news site and Omidyar’s Philippine Depository Receipts.
The court said the online news site violated the constitutional restrictions on mass media ownership and control for receiving a donation from Omidyar Network, owned by eBay founder and entrepreneur Pierre Omidyar.
PDRs are issued to foreign investors which grants them the right to engage in the delivery of sale in a Philippine company. PDRs are not evidence or statements nor certificates of ownership of a corporation.
The six Rappler board members have reportedly paid a bail bond of P90,000 each for the charge of violation of the Anti-Dummy Law, ahead of the issuance of a warrant.
Ressa who is out of the country, however, has yet to post bail for the said charge which is set at P126,000 each.
Pasig RTC 265 set the arraignment and pre-trial of the case on April 10. – Maris Federez
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.
“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
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.
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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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