“Kabos Padatoon” (Kapa) Community Ministry victims in Caraga want ‘donations’ back

HIGH-POWER FIREARMS. Some 50 high-power firearms and ammunition are seized by authorities after the raid and arrest of Kapa Community Ministry founder Joel A. Apolinario on Tuesday (July 21, 2020). The raid was conducted in Sitio Dahican, Barangay Salvacion, Lingig, Surigao del Sur. (Photo courtesy of SDSPPO)

BUTUAN CITY – Now that “Kabos Padatoon” or Kapa Community Ministry founder Joel A. Apolinario is in police custody, victims of the group’s investment fraud in the Caraga Region are demanding the return of their “donations”.

Several Kapa “investors” were interviewed by the Philippine News Agency on Wednesday (July 22) on condition of anonymity. They cheered the arrest of Apolinario but also expressed optimism on the possibility of getting back the money they poured into the Kapa ministry.

“I collapsed upon hearing of Apolinario’s arrest. What struck me most was the photo of the guns confiscated by the police from his possession. My God, he used our money to buy all these guns and pay for his bodyguards,” a 68-year-old mother from Surigao City told PNA in a phone interview Wednesday.

Apolinario and 25 of his companions were arrested in a raid conducted by the combined elements of the Police Regional Office in Caraga (PRO-13), the Surigao del Sur Provincial Police Office (SDSPPO), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday (July 21) in Barangay Salvacion, Lingig, Surigao del Sur.

A firefight between the police and Apolinario’s group resulted in the killing of two and the wounding of one of the Kapa founder’s bodyguards.

Police also recovered from Apolinario and his men several high-power firearms, including two rocket-propelled grenades, as well as various types of ammunition.

Apolinario and some top members of Kapa Community Ministry are facing criminal charges for syndicated estafa for investment fraud by selling securities to the public without a government license.

He has been the subject of manhunt operations by authorities since last year when arrest warrants were issued by several courts.

Millions in investments

The 68-year-old victim from Surigao City said her family invested PHP700,000 in the form of a donation to Kapa ministry last year.

“First, I donated PHP100,000 and PHP200,000 from my son. Then in the succeeding months, we gave PHP20,000 to PHP30,000. There was a time I delivered PHP80,000 from the proceeds of my jewelry I pawned and the income from the five hogs I sold. Then suddenly, we heard the Kapa closed down,” she said.

She added she was hospitalized for 12 days upon knowing that the ministry already stopped its operations.

“It’s very painful especially that the money we invested to Pastor Apolinario came from our savings and income,” she said.

Another victim from Butuan City, a 38-year-old mother, said her family invested around PHP1.3 million to Kapa ministry early last year.

“In our family, it was I who invested first in the amount of PHP300,000. Some of the money I used was from my savings, extra income, and a loan,” she said.

She said she did not withdraw her earnings of 30 percent of the total investment she made as she was told that her money would double in months as the interest would increase.

“In more than two months they showed me the increase of my money. I was so glad then and told the other members of the family with the developments of my investments in the form of donation,” she said.

Her family, including her parents and siblings, became interested to pour in investments and were able to accumulate PHP1 million that was immediately handed over to a Kapa ministry office in Agusan del Sur.

Unfortunately, a month after the investment of PHP1 million, the Kapa ministry was ordered shut down by the government.

“We cried upon hearing of the closure. My parents were hospitalized. What was painful was that we did not know what to do, where to go, and to whom to report our situation,” she said.

She said they are holders of eight accounts in Kapa ministry, which they paid at PHP300 per account.

“We still have the certificates and receipts and we can prove that we invested at Kapa ministry last year,” she said.

BUSTED. Kapa Community Ministry founder Joel A. Apolinario (center) is led to a waiting vehicle by Surigao del Sur Provincial Police Office (SDSPPO) chief, Col. James Goforth (right), after his arrest on Tuesday (July 21, 2020) in Barangay Salvacion, Lingig, Surigao del Sur. Victims of Kapa ministry in Caraga Region who poured in millions in pesos of investments want government to make an inventory all the assets, cash and other properties of the ministry and help all the victims get back the money they lost. (Photo courtesy of SDSPPO)

Another 48-year-old businessman from Surigao City recounted to PNA how he was convinced by testimonies presented to him by Kapa ministry officers in their area.

“I was really convinced because of the testimonies of members who were able to buy motorcycles, cars, appliances and even improved their houses from the benefits they got from investing in Kapa ministry,” he said.

He started investing in Kapa ministry in January last year with the amount of PHP50,000, then followed by PHP200,000 the following month.

By the succeeding months, he continued his “donations” to Kapa ministry until it reached PHP1 million in April last year.

“I did not get the earnings because I want to double and triple my investment money at Kapa ministry. I was glad it reached over PHP1 million. Then, suddenly, the ministry stopped its operations. I cried upon hearing it. I contacted some of the officers but their numbers could no longer be reached,” he said.

The businessman said some of the money he invested came from his business, savings, and loans.

Three more victims in the Caraga Region, two of whom invested more than PHP3 million and the other at PHP1.5 million, also talked in a phone interview and aired their disappointments to Apolinario and the Kapa ministry.

Creation of task force

Most of the victims who were interviewed want the government to create a task force that would make an inventory of all the investments received by Kapa ministry.

“Now that Apolinario is arrested it is time for the government to create a group or a task force that would inventory all the investors and the total money he collected,” said the 38-year-old mother from Butuan City.

She also appealed to the government to help the victims recover their investments.

“Have pity on us. I ask our high officials to work for the recovery of our money now that Pastor Apolinario is already arrested,” she said.

The 48-year-old businessman from Surigao City also suggested that the government should inventory all the investments made by Kapa ministry, its bank deposits, and other properties to determine where all the money of the investors was used by Apolinario.

“These properties, monies in banks, and other investments can be taken over by the government that can be used to remunerate all the victims of Kapa ministry,” he said. (PNA)

By Alexander Lopez, PNA  July 22, 2020