The Philippine National Police on Wednesday expressed hope that the victims of the alleged investment scam by the Kapa Community Ministry International will be one step closer to justice with the arrest of its founder Joel Apolinario.
In a press statement, PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa lauded the Police Regional Office in Caraga Region on the arrest of Apolinario, who has been at large following the release of several warrants of arrests for large-scale syndicated estafa.
“The special directive came from President Rodrigo Duterte: Arrest Apolinario and his cohorts to vindicate the thousands of members from Visayas and Mindanao who were victimized by Kapa’s massive investment scam,” Gamboa said in a statement.
He added that the Caraga cops have been monitoring the whereabouts of the suspect and his armed men since January this year.
Apolinario, founder and leader of the Kapa Community Ministry International and his 23 armed men, were arrested on Tuesday in an isolated island resort in Sitio Dahican, Barangay Handamayan, Lingig, Surigao del Sur.
He said the operation is also pursuant to the PNP’s campaign against loose firearms as Apolinario was reportedly carrying “unlicensed high-powered firearms and ammunition for his personal bodyguards.”
PRO 13 Director Brig. Gen. Joselito Esquivel Jr. reported that the operating team engaged in a firefight against Apolinario and his men when they tried to serve the warrant of arrest against the KAPA leader.
Two armed men of Apolinario were killed while one was reportedly wounded and brought to Bislig City District Hospital.
Authorities also confirmed that numerous high-powered firearms were recovered including various types of rifles, machine gun, carbine, shotgun, caliber 45 pistol, and assorted rounds of ammunition.
Esquivel said government troops are still in the area securing the place of the incident as the Provincial Crime Laboratory Office of the Surigao del Sur police is still accounting and doing an inventory of the pieces of evidence.
Meanwhile, Rep. Jericho Nograles of Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta has commended the PNP for wasting o time in carrying out Apolinario’s arrest.
Nograles also lauded the PNP for their immediate action against the KAPA founder, who is allegedly the brains behind the multi-billion pyramiding scheme that victimized tens of thousands of “investors” especially in Mindanao.
Nograles added that Aitpolinario also appears to be building his own private armed group after his group yielded dozens of high-powered firearms during the raid.
Nograles also revealed that he had repeatedly received death threats after he exposed the activities of KAPA.
“He is definitely not up to something good with all of these firearms and ammunition but I’m glad that this conman and some of his minions are finally behind bars. We must congratulate the PNP for finally bringing them in to face the charges,” Nograles, an assistant majority leader, said.
“Apart from filing criminal charges against Apolinario, the government should start legal procedures to facilitate the seizure of his assets that include vast tracts of land and luxury vehicles that include helicopters and a private plane. The government should also freeze all of his finances which can be liquidated and be used to refund his victims,” Nograles said.
Nograles also urged the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into reports that Apolinario has used dummies to preserve his assets and has also established various stash houses to keep huge amounts of cash.
“He still has lots of money and influence even after his arrest. I’m sure that he would use everything in his disposal just to free himself. The PNP and the NBI should recover KAPA assets as much as they can so that the government can still refund some of the money from KAPA’s investors,” he said.
Last Tuesday, PNP operatives armed with an arrest warrant issued by Judge Gil Bollozos of the Cagayan de Oro City Regional Trial Court (RTC) and a search warrant issued by Judge Shineta Tare-Palacio of the Surigao del Sur RTC raided a secluded beach resort in Surigao del Sur and arrested Apolinario along with at least 23 of his henchmen. With PNA