I doff my hats to President Duterte for his timely directive to the PNP-CIDG and the NBI to launch a massive crackdown on well-organized groups engaged in multi-million investment scams which have victimized tens of thousands of Filipinos including law enforcers and other government employees in the country.
I’m saying this in the wake of apprehensions that presence of highly-irregular investment scams in the country, some of them believed being run or protected by some police and government officials may disrupt the economy and erupt in bloodshed as the victims try to recoup their huge losses thru force and intimidation.
As the old Filipino saying goes, “naghangad ng kagitna, isang salop ang nawala,’ victims of these investment scams which include policemen, soldiers, firemen, teachers, OFWs and other ordinary Filipinos have no one to blame but themselves for biting the lucrative investment offers despite repeated warnings from authorities.
The PNP leadership has also warned its men and the rest of the public to stay away from these hoax schemes or lose their hard-earned savings or loans to syndicates whose activities have been detected in different parts of Mindanao, Visayas and now Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon since last year.
The President particularly wanted the CIDG and the NBI to target the Surigao del Sur-based religious corporation Kapa-Community Ministry International Inc. or KAPA which is said to be soliciting investments from the public in exchange for a 30 percent monthly interest.
We should all listen to the President’s word: “When it is good to be true, it is fraud.
Biro mo yung P100,000 will earn P30,000 a month?! Yung Bangko Sentral nga, di mabigay tres lang na porsyento. Annually ha?! Walang tao dito, walang bangko yung maski Bank of America can afford to pay you P30,000 every month for your P100,000.”
Here is the basic PNP tip on how to detect fake investment scams: They promise you high returns at low or no-risk. They give you commissions if you refer a friend. They assure you that capital is guaranteed. They claim that they have ‘strong’ track record. Thy pressure you with ‘limited time-discount price offers. They impress you with outstanding testimonials. If their offer appears too good to be true. It’s not true. Thus, Think, Examine. Study.’
My friend, Central Visayas police director, Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas said that last week, his men moved in to permanently close the illegal KAPA company in Compostela, Cebu which is believed to have duped more than 10,000 people into investing in their multi-million peso pyramiding scam since it started operating this year only.
Violence has already started to rear its ugly head in the area in the aftermath of the KAPA operations, I learned. According to Sinas, around 10 heavily-armed men at around 1 a.m. yesterday forced their way into the KAPA Community Ministry, Inc. in Sitio Hika, Barangay Poblacion, Compostela.
At gunpoint the suspects robbed at least 20 KAPA ministry workers of their cash and valuables including a vault containing an undetermined amount of cash before setting the building on fire. The gunmen fled on board four vehicles.
Incidents like this could be repeated in other parts of the country if these fake investment rings won’t be stopped. Recently, another friend, Central Mindanao police director, Brig. Gen. Ely Rasco renewed his call on local residents to be wary of a fraudulent investment scam which is believed to have duped thousands of victims including PNP officers and men with billions of pesos worth of their hard-earned money or loans.
The official said that these investment scams particularly the Police Paluwagan Movement or PPM lure even the most sophisticated investors, using the deceiving and alluring appeal of outsized returns or secured and guaranteed pay-outs ranging from 30 percent up to 400 percent per month.
The PPM was shut down last March after it was discovered to be not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Reports said that personalities behind the scam have solicited millions of pesos from victims for purported investments in a variety of projects and companies.
DILG Secretary Ed Año and PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde has ordered the PNP-CIDG headed by Maj. Gen. Amador Corpus to investigate several former ranking PRO12 officials for their alleged involvement in the reported P2 billion investment scam which is said to have earned them huge profits.
Rasco said that the PPM investment scam is believed to have attracted various sectors of the community in the region, including prosecutors, judges, entrepreneurs, and ordinary civilians due to the “very tempting big interest offered by the group.” The PPM allegedly offers a 60-percent interest rate every 15 days for the money invested by the victims.
The DILG said that in a span of a few months, police personnel involved in the scam have allegedly acquired multiple assets and allegedly issued checks that bounced due to insufficiency of funds in the PPM bank accounts. Some 30 police personnel and civilians are allegedly involved in the scam.
The worst thing I heard is that policemen are acting as ‘security escorts’ for officials of the fake investment company apparently for a fee. However, despite regular police advisories, people continue to patronize these scams purely out of greed for money.
This is the reason why the PNP and the NBI must move to identify all the people behind these highly-fraudulent schemes and send them to jail as ordered by the President. As Rasco had said, “it is sad to admit that there are law enforcers, whom we presumed to be more prudent – to have stronger sense of caution and discretion in schemes like these. He also expressed concern that people may soon find it more difficult to distinguish between legitimate investment schemes and these scams and financial crimes.