Police and agents from the National Bureau of Investigation raided 14 offices of Kapa Community Ministry International Inc., a day after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the group shut down for its alleged involvement in an illegal investment scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission, meanwhile, is set to file criminal complaints against Kapa officials for the alleged scam
that reportedly defrauded participants of as much as P50 billion.
In Cebu, NBI agents and police confiscated blank and filled-up application forms, books, membership certificates and bids of donations from the Kapa office in Barangay Poblacion in Compostela.
The raid came after Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20 Judge Marivic Umali issued a search warrant against the firm for alleged violation of the Securities Regulation Code.
The authorities also swooped down on Kapa branch offices in Tacloban City; Taytay, Rizal; Tagum City; Opol, Misamis Oriental; and even the house of its founder Joel Apolinario in General Santos City.
The NBI deployed 14 teams to simultaneously serve search warrants in 14 locations, as granted by the Manila court.
NBI Deputy Director Antonio Pagatpat said the securities regulations require any group or company to secure a license from the SEC before engaging in any kind of investment activity. Kapa is not a religious group as it claims, he added.
“From day one up to the time that it was ripe for operations, not a single religious activity was conducted by the organization. In fact, they accepted donations from anyone, regardless of their religious affiliation,” Pagatpat said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Pagatpat said the group gives a 5-percent commission to members who help them in the “recruitment process.”
In Cebu, NBI officials said most of the seized items were damaged from the fire that struck the office Saturday, June 8. The recovered evidence will be turned over to the court.
The raiding team also secured a big vault believed to contain millions of pesos in cash.
The Sunstar Cebu reported that a group of 10 armed men failed to steal the vault when they set the office ablaze Saturday. However, they carted away a small vault believed to contain P5 million to P7 million.
Police Regional Office 7 Director Debold Sinas doubts the armed men knew about the contents of the vaults.
“Our suspicion is that there could be an inside job,” he said.
Although they were not able to arrest any Kapa officials, the NBI, in coordination with SEC, will file a case against founder Joel Apolinario and Kapa Cebu area manager Christopher Abad for violating Sections 8 and 26 of Republic Act 8799.
“We have already a case build-up. We are going to file the necessary charges against the pastor, against his men, against his directors and against the defenders or those who are abetting and propagating this scheme,” said SEC Chairman Emilio Aquino in a press conference Monday.
The group reportedly accepted investments, which it dubbed as “donations” of no less than P10,000 from each of its members, according to the commission.
The SEC considered the scheme to be among the biggest investment scams in the country, getting no less than P50 billion from its members.
“With five-million members, with a minimum investment of P10,000 per member, you’re looking at P50 billion,” Auino said.
President Duterte said the activities of these investment schemes, including the Kapa Community Ministry International,
were clearly a form of estafa.
“The operation of Kapa was a clear pyramiding scheme, which collected money from its members to give to the pioneering operators of the group. When it is too good to be true, it is fraud,” Duterte said.
Duterte said it was impossible for a group to give 30 percent monthly interest to investments because banks here and abroad could only give a maximum of 3 percent interest per year.
He said that the interest received by its members were just drawn from the money of the newly recruited members who were also drawn into investing in the pyramiding scam.
The Philippine National Police urged victims of the Kapa and other investment scams to file complaints.
PNP spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac said that even after the authorities raided some Kapa offices, only a few complainants have come forward to testify on the group’s alleged illegal operations.
According to Banac, additional complaints will strengthen the case against Kapa officials and against those in other investment scams that mostly operate in Southern Mindanao.
Kapa or Kabus Padatoon (enriching the poor), is a registered religious group that was earlier flagged by the SEC for allegedly soliciting investments in the form of donations and at a monthly interest rate of 30 percent.
Another group raided was the Alabel Maasim Credit Cooperative in Poblacion, Alabel town in Sarangani. Alamcco was also cited by SEC for accepting investments from the public and offering a monthly payout of 35 percent.
Lawyer Riolen Gillesania, Apolinario’s counsel, told reporters that the raid mainly targeted documents and other materials that were supposedly used by Kapa to solicit investments from the public.
Apolinario and his family were not at the house during the search operation.
He said the NBI agents seized from Apolinario’s home some Kapa membership forms, a list of the group’s members with their cellphone numbers, and three bullets found at the guard house.
The lawyer said the raid was a state attack on a religious group.
He said Kapa is just a victim of Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, he said, because he lost some members of his congregation to Kapa.
In a TV interview Friday night, Quiboloy asked President Duterte about Kapa.
Gillesania added that Kapa’s legal team will study the circumstances of the raids for the possible filing of counter-charges against the NBI and other law enforcement agencies.
In Alabel town, NBI agents disarmed the five security guards of Alamcco during the search operation.
The group’s founder, Pastor Jerson Cagang, was not around during the raid, which triggered confusion among employees and Alamcco members gathered outside its compound.
In Tacloban City, police and the NBI also raided Organico Agribusiness Ventures Corp. under the crackdown earlier ordered by President Duterte against get-rich-quick scams.
Leaders of other religious groups have asked Senators-elect Ronald dela Rosa and Imee Marcos to help them clear their names.
At a news conference in Quezon City, Danilo Mangahas of Ahon sa Kahirapan (ASK) Movement, the group’s spokesperson, also called on incoming Citizens Battle Against Corruption Rep. Eddie Villanueva to step into the matter.
“We will file a petition with the Senate, particularly to seek the support of Senators-elect Dela Rosa and Marcos through a probe,” he told the Manila Standard.
Joewie Argate of the Christ Lifeshaper Church, along with Pastors Raddy Umandac, Rey Pablo and Alfred Gayla from Cainta and Taytay, Rizal, said they were saddened by the simultaneous raids at the house of Kapa founder Pastor Joel Apolinario in Tagum City and some Kapa offices in General Santos City and Quezon City.
“We need to counter this through prayers for we believe that it is the only powerful weapon that we have in this time of crisis,” Kapa Community said in a statement. With PNA
KAPA-Community Ministry International Inc.
• Kapa stands for ‘Kabus Padatoon,’ Cebuano for “enrich the poor”
• Founded in 2016 by Pastor Joel Apolinario
• Based in Bislig, Surigao del Sur
• Registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a religious organization
• Calls itself ‘The Church Within the Church’ with the slogan ‘To God Be The Glory’
• According to its website, has started several businesses such as limestone and silica mining, rice production, woodworks, poultry, seafood, mango plantation, textiles, and fuel trading.
• To become a KAPA member, a person may “voluntarily support the ministry by donating a certain amount of money with a minimum of P5,000 and a maximum of P1 million out of their “willingness and generosity.”
KAPA members’ benefits include:
• “Received Blessings”-A member is entitled to receive blessings “with a minimum of 30 percent based on his/her donated amount every month or monthly.”
• “Patulong (Aid) Account”-A member is allowed to avail of this based on compounding computation (percentage based on the 30 percent noted above)
• “Hospitalization Blessings”-A member is allowed to advance a minimum of 2 months of his/her blessings in case of hospitalization
• Transferrable-In case of death of a KAPA member, his/her account is transferrable to any of his/her legitimate family members
• Harvested high variety of rice-A member is allowed to buy rice from the group at a minimum price of P30 per kilo.
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