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HomeFront PageBreaking NewsAgusan town council warns residents vs. investment scheme

Agusan town council warns residents vs. investment scheme

By CHRIS V. PANGANIBAN

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur — The town council here has issued a cautionary advisory to residents regarding a religious organization soliciting investments in exchange for substantial financial returns, an offer deemed by an official of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as “too good to be true.”

In a joint committee report dated April 22, the Sangguniang Bayan’s committees on ways and means, and cooperative, trade, commerce, and industry have urged the SEC Caraga regional office in Butuan City to investigate the activities of the Humanitarian and Spiritual Mission Apostles of Davao and Asia, Inc. (HASMADAI) for an alleged religious-themed investment scheme.

The committee report specifically recommends the cancellation of HASMADAI’s SEC registration due to violations of the corporation code and anti-aliasing laws. This recommendation stems from the revelation that the founding chairman, Dante Encarnacion Tabusares, utilized a different name, Ralph Jimmy Calaor Gayatin, in SEC documents.

However, Tabusares, in a press statement disseminated through various social media platforms of news agencies in General Santos City, vehemently denied any involvement of HASMADAI in an investment scam.

Tabusares refuted the accusations, stating, “The reports circulating on social media are baseless allegations and fabrications.” He further clarified that HASMADAI’s primary objective is to provide free technical vocational training and seminars aimed at assisting people in need.

Addressing the issue of the discrepancy in names, Tabusares attributed it to an “honest mistake,” as stated by his legal counsel, Atty. Israelito Torreon, assuring that corrective measures would be taken promptly.

During a joint committee hearing held on April 19, Atty. Jason Tan, the regional director of SEC Caraga, revealed that initial investigations indicated HASMADAI’s registration as a non-stock, non-profit religious organization. However, any misrepresentation in their SEC registration could lead to revocation.

Tabusares maintained HASMADAI’s stance as a non-denominational corporation dedicated to providing civic and social services to communities since 2022, emphasizing their commitment to aiding vulnerable populations and fostering long-term empowerment.

Critics of HASMADAI liken its practices to past investment scams, such as Kapa Community Ministry International, alleging that the organization entices members with promises of substantial returns on investments.

Tabusares, a former media coordinator of Kapa Community Ministry International, defended HASMADAI’s activities, stating that under the protection of religious freedom enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, the organization is entitled to gather resources, including tithes and donations, for its missionary endeavors.

However, Cecil Gentallan, officer-in-charge of the Business Permits and Licensing Office at the municipal hall, disclosed that HASMADAI, operating in Barangay 3, conducts religious activities, livelihood programs, and accepts cash donations from its member-missionaries.

Despite presenting SEC and BIR registrations, it was revealed that HASMADAI issued official receipts addressed in Davao City, a practice deemed unauthorized by Maria Lanie Ventures, Revenue Officer III of the Revenue District Office in Bayugan City.

Tabusares admitted during the hearing that HASMADAI accepts cash donations with the assurance of a monthly missionary allowance for donors, including contributions from foreign sources.

In urging the SEC to investigate HASMADAI, the joint committees have outlined key points for scrutiny, including the organization’s registration status, use of fictitious names, involvement in investment solicitation, compliance with its stated purpose, and the imposition of penalties for violations of the Corporation Code.

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