THE Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed a ruling by the Court of Appeals (CA), which denied Hawkson’s Truck and Parts Center Corp.’s motion to lift the freeze order on its bank accounts.
The firm is owned by Joel A. Apolinario, the founder of Kabus Padatoon-Community Ministry International (KAPA), which the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) tagged as possibly “the largest investment scam in the Philippines in recent years.”
In an eight-page resolution on June 15 and made public on Aug. 5, the SC First Division said the firm’s appeal was moot and academic, and it availed of the wrong legal remedy.
“Petitioner (Hawkson’s Truck and Parts Center) did not even file a motion for reconsideration of the assailed CA resolution,” the tribunal said.
The truck firm had filed a petition for certiorari, which accuses a court of failing to provide a plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in a case.
The High Court noted that a motion for reconsideration is a prerequisite remedy before filing a petition for certiorari.
It added that the motion was moot since the six-month effectivity period of the freeze order was already over as the CA issued it on June 4, 2019.
“Clearly, the six-month period had long lapsed, thereby rendering this case moot,” the court ruled.
“While the court may resolve a moot case for compelling reasons, we find none of such exceptional circumstances present in this case, as, in fact, petitioner, failed to show any,” it added.
The appellate court earlier denied the firm’s appeal as it said “serious doubts exist” on whether the construction truck dealer was a legitimate company or not.
The Anti-Money Laundering Council earlier asked the CA to issue a freeze order against several bank accounts held by Mr. Apolinario, Corporate Secretary Reyna L. Apolinario, and their businesses over allegations of illicit activity.
KAPA is estimated to have collected about P50 billion from supposed five million members when the SEC ordered its closure in 2019.
The organization operated by masking as a religious group that solicits P10,000 “donations” from each member in exchange for monthly returns of 30% in “blessings” or “love gifts” for life. — John Victor D. Ordoñez