Duterte tells NBI to go after proponents of 'pyramid' schemes

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 8) — President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the National Bureau of Investigation to direct its attention to groups involved in pyramid schemes.

"NBI, sirahan mo na mga p********** — sirahan mo na sila at dalhin mo doon sa [close them down and bring them to] ... upon my orders," Duterte said as he trashed pyramiding schemes in an appearance on Pastor Apollo Quiboloy's TV program on Saturday.

"When it is good to be true, it is fraud. Biro mo 'yung 100,000 mo would earn 30,000 a month? Ni bangko na 'yung Banko Sentral natin magbigay, tres lang porsyento. Ilan ang porsyento ngayon na? Annually ha," Duterte said.

[Translation: When it is too good to be true, it is fraud. Just think your 100,000 would earn 30,000 a month? Even our Central Bank only gives 3 percent. How much percent is that? Annually?]

Duterte responded to Quiboloy's question about KAPA Community Ministery International, Inc., headed by Joel Apolinario, and issued a stern warning against investment firms involved in such schemes.

"Huminto kayo kasi 'pag sinobra, putok dito, putok doon, putok dito, putok doon. Wala akong sundalo pati pulis ganun karami. Then, let it not be said that I did not warn you. You guys in the pyramiding, pity your family and your children," he said.

[Translation: You better stop because if you don't, things could happen. I do not have a lot of soldiers of police. Then, let it not be said that I did not warn you. You guys in the pyramiding, pity your family and your children.]

Ponzi or pyramid schemes lure in potential investors with promises of high daily returns for a minimum investment.

A circular letter from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said, "These programs normally exist for a period of time and appear to be religiously paying their investors. Thereafter, they will quickly disappear, leaving the investors, particularly those in the downlines, empty handed. The firms’ websites become inaccessible. The losing investors cannot run after the program managers who are either unknown or whose names and addresses, if mentioned in their websites, are usually fictitious."

In KAPA's case, an advisory from the Securities and Exchange Commission said it was enticing the public to invest with a promise of 30% interest every month until forever in the guise and/or scheme of a “Deed of Donation” or “Certificate of Membership” enticing the public to invest with promise of 30% interest every month until forever."

In April, the SEC revoked KAPA's registration after it continued to operate in defiance of a cease and desist order from the SEC.