Kapa Community Ministry International founder Joel Apolinario said Monday he will remain in hiding following the manhunt against him, and that he would surrender only if his followers or Kapa members told him to do so.
The Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies have launched a manhunt against Apolinario for his alleged involvement in a large-scale investment scam in the country.
The NBI was also considering arresting Apolinario without a warrant should he be located in Mindanao, where martial law has been declared by President Rodrigo Duterte.
But Apolinario says he will not give himself up unless the members of the religious corporation ask him to do so.
“Naniniguro lang po. Hindi naman sa diskumpiyado ako pero nananatili pa rin sa isipan ko ang aking kaligtasan,” Apolinario told DZMM radio.
“Sabagay, darating din ang panahon na kung gusto na ng mga members na ako ay lumantad para sa kanila ay pati buhay ko po itataya ko po basta para sa kagustuhan ng mga members.”
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has assured Apolinario of his safety if he gave himself up. He said his agency would secure him so that the Kapa founder could return the money of his members.
“As secretary of Justice, I will use all the human powers in my hand and within the limits of our laws to give protection to Pastor Apolinario. It is to everyone’s interest, especially to his millions of followers, that he remain alive to return their hard-earned money,” Guevarra told ABS-CBN News.
Apolinario claims that Kapa members have advised him to go into hiding after Duterte accused their group of engaging in an investment scam.
“Hindi ko yan maiwasan dahil sa advice na rin ng mga miyembro at may mga nag-aadvise na rin na hindi mabuting mailantad ako sa mga naghahabol sa atin,” he said.
The rules require any group or company to secure a license from the Securities and Exchange Commission before engaging in any kind of investment activity.
Lawmen recently raided Kapa offices based on the search warrants issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20 against the firm for violating Sections 8 and 26 of the Securities Corporation Code of the Philippines.
The authorities swooped down on Kapa’s branch offices in Compostela in Cebu; Tacloban City; Taytay, Rizal; Tagum City; Opol, Mislamis Oriental; and even the house of Apolinario in General Santos City.
Apolinario denied the allegations against them, saying Kapa is a legitimate religious group. Some members seconded Apolinario.
The NBI also recovered cash amounting to P2.2 million and P300,000 from two different Kapa offices.
The SEC considers the Kapa scheme to be among the biggest investment scams in the country since it has already gotten no less than P50 billion from its members.
Duterte has ordered the closure of Kapa for its alleged illegal collections by enticing the people to put up money for investments in the guise of religion.
Duterte said those investment schemes, including that offered by 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 a fraud,” Duterte said.
He said it was impossible for a group to give 30 percent in monthly interest to investors because banks here and abroad could only give a maximum of three percent interest per year.
“I have told you many times to never believe in this kind of scheme especially if their promise is like giving you heaven, no banks even the Bank of America can afford to give you P30,000 monthly interest for your P100,000 investment,” Duterte said.
He said the interest received by members were just drawn from the money of the newly recruited members who were also drawn into investing in the pyramiding scam.
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