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Kapa scam: what happened before


On a national level, the name of Pastor Joel Apolinario hardly made it to the pages of newspapers or reported on television. But his name had long been on the stage of controversy in Mindanao for quite a number of years now. In fact, I remember the name of his Kapa Community Ministry last year when Bombo Radyo reported on the arrest of its station manager and news director in General Santos in September 2018.

Apolinario had complained to the NBI that these broadcasters were extorting money from him so that the daily tirades against his activities would stop. On the part of the broadcasters, identified as Jonathan Macailing and Salvador Galano, claimed they were framed up.

It was also about that time that the Bislig City LGU in Surigao shut down the cooperative store of Kapa, which stands for Kabus Padatoon (Make the poor rich), after getting numerous complaints about its illegal activities.

Kapa had campaigned among its members not to vote for Bislig city mayor Librado Navarro who ran for the position of Vice Governor for the Province of Surigao del Sur in the recently-held local and national elections on May 13. Despite this “no-vote” campaign, Navarro won.

Who is Apolinario?Picture Joel Apolinario

This is a man who is a genuine rags-to-riches story. But it appears that his path to wealth was at the expense of small investors who fell for his promise of a 30% monthly “reward” for their “donations”.

In his youth, he struggled to make both ends meet as a fisherman and then as a construction worker. He got a job as a radio technician and from there, finding that he had a gift for eloquence, became a disc jockey.

He founded Kapa Community Ministry and operated a chain of cooperative stores in Bislig City. While he claims that Kapa is a church, it has no place of worship it could call its own.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) estimates that Kapa has around 5 million members in the entire country, and its exposure could reach P50 billion on an average of P10,000 per member.

In February this year, the SEC revoked his incorporation papers on allegations of fraud and ordered Kapa to stop its operations.

Apparently, Apolinario was in no mood to heed the order.

But last week, no less than President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure of all Kapa offices and threatened to arrest those who persist in soliciting investments disguised as “donations”.

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About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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