Solon revives bill for SEC to file charges vs 'investment scammers'

A PARTYLIST representative has revived the talks of possibly passing the proposed bill that would grant the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the legal function to not just issue advisories but also file appropriate charges against so-called dubious "investment schemes."

Ako Bicol partylist representative Alfredo Garbin Jr., noticed that this year alone, the SEC has issued 16 advisories warning the public of illegal business practices and shady investment schemes.

"When retirees, seniors, mothers, OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers), teachers place their hard-earned income, savings, retirement pay, or pension in 'too good to be true' investment schemes, the SEC must do more than just issue advisories," said Garbin, one of the authors of House Bill 8791.

The bill, a proposed law for providing the comprehensive regulatory and legal framework for collective investment schemes, was already approved in the House of Representatives on January 14, and transmitted to the Senate the next day. Until then, there were no clear updates were given.

"The SEC must investigate, suspend, revoke business documents, and file charges directly with the government prosecutors in the cities and towns where the head offices of the suspected scammers are located," he said.

Garbin also said the SEC "must alert the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Anti-Money Laundering Council to the suspicious and illegal business behavior of the entities they have found to be engaged in investment scams, so that the money trail can be closely monitored and evidence gathered."

"When local government officials, who are persons in authority, notice that hundreds or thousands of their constituents are victims of the scammers, they should suspend or revoke the business permits and licenses of the scammers," he added.

He also noted that scammers "use the internet and social media for coordination, communication, and control of their investment schemes" the Department of Justice and the Department of Information and Communication Technology can also apply our country's laws against cybercrime." (PJ Orias)


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