By Benjamin Pulta

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla (File photo)

MANILA – Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Tuesday instructed the National Prosecution Service (NPS) to exhaust all resources allowed by law to punish the officials and certain stockholders of Abra Mining & Industrial Corporation (AR) responsible for the alleged unauthorized and fraudulent trading of shares from 2015 to 2019.

“Shares or stocks are intangible vital elements of the country’s financial stability which fosters the growth of companies, providing an opportunity to every aspiring businessman to invest and be wealthy in life,” Remulla said in a statement.

“The State recognizes this role of business/corporate shares in our economy, hence, we are very serious in enforcing the laws related thereto in order to assure that economic opportunities in our communities will be fair and advantageous for each and every individual.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday filed before the DOJ 441 counts of violations of Republic Act (RA) Nos. 8799 (Securities Regulation Code) and 11232 or the Revised Corporation Code (RCC).

The SEC also asked the DOJ to institute civil and criminal forfeiture proceedings against the respondents under RA 9160, or the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001.

AR was incorporated on Sept. 28, 1964 to engage in the exploration, development, exploitation, processing, manufacture, extraction, milling and sale of cement and metal concentrate, marble, building materials and other minerals such as copper, gold, silver, iron and lead.

Its business lines consist of the commercial utilization of limestone, lime, shale, silica, sand, gold, silver, copper, zinc, magnetite iron sand and other mineral deposits existing within the contract area.

The company has four approved mining claims covered by duly approved Mineral Production Sharing Agreements with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources — Bucay Baticang limestone and alluvial gold magnetite project, Capcapo gold copper project, Patok gold silver copper project and Sanvig alluvial gold and magnetite iron sand deposits.

Respondents named by the SEC in its complaint were AR president James Beloy; corporate secretary Ameila Beloy; stock transfer agent Asian Transfer and Registry Corporation president Arline Adeva; and other company officers.

The criminal complaint arose from discrepancies in the number of the firm’s shares registered with the SEC for public offering, those listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange and those lodged with Philippine Depository and Trust Corporation. (PNA)