Lapid wants investment scams covered under economic sabotage
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Lito Lapid has filed a bill seeking to expand the coverage of economic sabotage to include those involved in investment scams.
Lapid on Tuesday, July 2, filed Senate Bill No. 53 to amend Marcos-era Presidential Decree 1689, which increased the penalty in some forms of swindling or estafa that constitute economic sabotage.
In filing the bill, Lapid said he wants to fix the "loophole" that economic sabotage may only be committed by a group of at least 5 people.
"Sa panukalang ito, siguradong lahat ng mga manggagantso, mag-isa man o sindikato ay wala nang lusot at siguradong mabubulok sa kulungan (With this measure, we're sure that all fraudsters, as an individual or a syndicate, will be held accountable and rot in jail)," Lapid said.
He said in Filipino that his proposed amendment of the law would ensure punishment for those who exploit individuals who "only want to earn a little."
"Nararapat lamang na siguruhin natin na matigil na ang mga ganitong pananamantala sa ating mga kababayan na gusto lamang naman kumita ng kaunti," he said.
(It's important that we put a stop to exploitation of our countryment who wants to earn a little.)
The senator cited recent events that "revealed the cracks" in existing policies, and referred to a "religious organization" that supposedly lured investors through a Ponzi scheme.
The Securities and Exchange Commission earlier called Kapa Community Ministry International's donation scheme an outright scam, saying it was mathematically impossible for anyone give a one-time "donation" and then receive 30% of the amount for life.
Lapid proposed to amend PD 1689 to include the following persons who "defraud or misappropriate money" contributed by individuals or corporations: the individual accused, family members or relatives by affinity or consanguinity who connive with the accused, and business associates or subordinates who connive with the accused.
PD 1689 specifically defined estafa as punishable by life imprisonment to death if carried out by at least 5 people. If not done by a syndicate, the penalty imposable is up to life imprisonment if the amount of fraud exceeds P100,000.
Death penalty in the Philippines was abolished in 2006. Some lawmakers have expressed interest to push for the reinstatement of capital punishment in the country during the 18th Congress.– Rappler.com