February 23, 2024

■  Rimaliza A. Opiña 

The Securities and Exchange Commission has made permanent the cease and desist order it has issued in June against Baguio-based realty company Casa Infini Builders and Realty Company Ltd., Casa Infini Realty Management Co. Ltd., and its affiliated entities following the Commission en banc’s affirmation of the issuance of the order by its Enforcement and Investor Protection Division.

In effect, the en banc’s affirmation denies Casa Infini’s motion to lift the CDO, the SEC said in a press release.

In affirming the CDO, the SEC en banc maintained Casa Infini was offering securities in the form of investment contracts in violation of Section 8 of the Securities Regulation Code which prohibits the sale or offer to sell and/or distribute of securities without secondary license from the SEC.

“Consistent with the broad definition of securities, the term investment contract should include and cover all forms and varieties which are known or considered, or ought to be known or considered to be such, in the financial  world,” the SEC en banc said.

In its motion, Casa Infini presented three points: that its operation said is not a scam as it was issued a license to operate by the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development; it is not operating as a Ponzi or pyramiding scheme; and no damages were reported by any of the company’s “financiers.”

But the SEC en banc maintained Casa Infini’s operation is a form of investment solicitation considering that their financiers expect a profit from their investments.

SEC said the groups were found to have enticed the public to invest in real estate projects in Baguio City either as a buyer-investor or partner financier.

Apart from the issuance of the CDO in June, criminal charges have been filed against officials of Casa Infini and 23 others for violation of the Securities Regulation Code.

Earlier, the City Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the complaint citing insufficiency of evidence and premature filing of complaint.

But the permanent CDO will prevent Casa Infini from further soliciting investments.