DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 June) – Authorities padlocked Tuesday an agribusiness company here for alleged illegal solicitation of investments from the public similar to Ponzi schemes without a permit from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The closure of Organico Agribusiness Venture, located at JRT Building, Barangay 35-D, Bolton Street, took place a day after a simultaneous crackdown on similar Ponzi-like investment companies in several areas in the country on Monday.
Personnel from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Davao City and SEC served the search warrant issued by 1st Vice Executive Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali last June 7 against the firm after its executives, Cerrone Roial Posas, Katherine Posas Diao, Jose Milo Salloman, Gab Pilapil and Dianne Viba, were found to have allegedly violated Republic Act 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code.
Section 8.1 of the law prohibits the sale or distribution of securities without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by SEC. It also requires that “prior to such sale, information on the securities, in such form and with such substance as the Commission may prescribe, shall be made available to each prospective purchaser.”
PMaj. Milgrace C. Driz, CIDG-Davao City head, said the authorities had intensified their drive to close investment firms similar to Organico after President Rodrigo Duterte warned the public against falling prey to their schemes.
“We are urging the public not to patronize this investment scheme that promises heaven in return. We are enforcing this law to protect both of the people’s right and their interest as well as the investment companies as to the validity and the legal aspect of this investment scheme,” she said.
Authorities recovered from the company’s office 60 boxes of VG coffee drink mix, 40 pouches of Full Harvest fertilizers, 30 bottles of Full Harvest fertilizers, record book, office log book, list of in-house agent/home/staff, various office documents, four Organico tarpaulins, 87 Organico key chains, seven pieces of mugs and three pieces of shirts.
On its Facebook post last April 29, Organico boasted to have owned diversified business ventures to support its operation, such as farms planted to various crops like coconut, durian, and rice in several areas in Davao City, Leyte, and Cebu; aquaculture, poultry, and piggery; manpower services; print ads, three LED billboards in Davao, among others.
As of June 11, the post had generated 456 reactions and 61 shares, with over a thousand comments from supporters expressing curiosity and interest to invest in the scheme.
The company posted on January 7 its certificate of incorporation issued by SEC on May 8, 2018, and business registrations from the Department of Trade and Industry and permits from the business bureaus of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue Cities in Cebu issued to the company and its affiliates, apparently to generate public interest.
However, the SEC’s certificate of incorporation stated that it “grants juridical personality to the corporation but does not authorize it to issue, sell or offer for sale to the public, securities such as but not limited to, shares of stock, investment contracts, debt instruments and virtual currencies without a prior registration statement approved by Securities of Exchange Commission.”
The company is also not allowed to undertake business activities “requiring a Secondary License from this Commission such as but not limited to acting as: broker or dealer in securities, government securities eligible dealer, investment adviser of and investment company, close-end or open-end investment company, investment house, transfer agent, commodity/ financial futures exchange/broker/merchant, financing/lending company, and time shares/club shares/membership certificate issuers or selling agents thereof.”
Duterte had ordered the CIDG and National Bureau of Investigation to padlock Kapa Community Ministry International Inc. and other similar investment firms offering huge returns similar to Ponzi schemes and warned the people behind these companies that they could be charged with syndicated estafa.
“When it is good to be true, it is fraud. Biro mo yung P100,000k mo would earn P30,000k a month (Just imagine your P100,000 would earn you P30,000 a month),” he said during an interview with Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy in the latter’s Give Us This Day TV program aired on Saturday.
Quiboloy, who calls himself a son of God, has drawn flak on social media for allegedly urging Duterte to close Kapa and other investment firms. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)