JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday said that the Duterte administration will crack the whip on Indian nationals engaged in the “5-6” lending business.
Aguirre bared that President Duterte has instructed Cabinet members to put a stop to the usurious lending scheme preying on struggling and small-time entrepreneurs.
Specifically, Aguirre said Duterte wants Indian nationals or “Bumbay” engaged in such business arrested by police and deported to their country.
“They can be arrested for operating without any permit,” Aguirre stressed.
In a Cabinet meeting last Monday, the President stressed that the lending scheme of over 50,000 motorcycle-riding Punjabis from India all over the country has further aggravated poverty among Filipinos.
The Chief Executive has also directed Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. to coordinate with the Indian Ambassador about the drive to stop the usurious lending scheme by their nationals.
Aguirre also explained that the Indian nationals could be arrested even in the absence of a warrant of arrest from courts because the usurious lending offense is considered a continuing crime.
He added that these Indians also have not paid taxes to the government from the illegal lending business, which has victimized many Filipinos.
Aguirre admitted that the 5-6 scheme where the Indian lenders impose 20-percent interest per month on their borrowers is not illegal following the suspension of the usury law and the removal of interest ceilings.
“But we could not accept that kind of interest. When it comes to civil cases, the courts do not recognize such excessive interest rate,” he pointed out.