MANILA - The alleged investment scam involving Kapa Community Ministry International was an example of a “toxic mix of misinformation and religion,” Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said Monday, as he called on the public to be more circumspect when it comes to investment schemes that are “too good to be true.”
Government regulators have clamped down on Kapa after President Rodrigo Duterte put the spotlight on the group’s investment scheme, which promises a 30 percent per month interest to its members.
“Para sa akin this is a toxic mix of misinformation as well as religion,” Gatchalian told reporters.
“Kung hahaluan mo ng religion at hahaluan mo ng pagsisinungaling, talagang ang mga tao maeenganyong maglagay ng pera doon.”
Gatchalian, head of the Senate economic affairs committee, said information campaign against investment scams must be intensified.
“Pwede nating umpisahang pag-usapan ito sa senior high school dahil karamihan sa mga high school especially sa ating system magta-trabaho na iyan,” he said.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it has secured more than P100 million worth of assets linked to Kapa under a freeze order issued by the Court of Appeals.
Besides bank deposits, the freeze order also covers insurance policies, cryptocurrency holdings and other assets, the SEC said.
The SEC said it secured the freeze order on June 4 through the Anti-Money Laundering Council, and added that it is also working to secure other Kapa assets.
"Public records show at least nine luxury cars and sports utility vehicles, along with a helicopter, are registered under the name of KAPA and its officers," the regulator said.
Kapa, short for Kabus Padatuon or Enrich the Poor in a local language, was registered as an independent religious group in 2017, with headquarters in the southern city of Bislig in Surigao del Sur.
Gatchalian said, Kapa cannot argue the money given by its members can be considered as donations, since the group promised hefty returns.
The SEC has said Kapa may have amassed as much as P50 billion by enticing members to give "donations" of P10,000 and up on promises of getting a 30 percent per month interest.
The group has denied the allegations.