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”.


Unique bridal car

This wedding is definitely going to be remembered. Rudan Vincent Dimaandal met Jocelyn Trespecios as EMT volunteers in Metro Manila and frequently came to Iloilo during the staging of the Dinagyang Festival to serve as first-aiders. When they tied the knot last week, the Iloilo Citizens Action Group (ICAG) gave them an entirely different ride from their church rites — a firetruck as bridal car.

Leila tastes freedom — for three hours

After being in detention for over two years now, Senator Leila de Lima was granted a three-hour furlough — a temporary pass from prison — to be able to attend her son’s thanksgiving party after passing the 2018 Bar Examinations.

Leila de Lima

Photo credit: Philippine Star

De Lima was actually allowed furloughs on two previous instances: the first was in March 2018 for a medical check-up for her liver condition; the second was to allow her to cast her vote during the May 13, 2019 midterm elections.

Her furlough on Sunday (June 16, 2019) was her first to be with her family outside of detention.

But wasn’t it unfair to other detainees that she was granted such privilege? I am sure there are thousands of other detention prisoners — individuals whose liberties have been cut while their cases are pending in court — who were deprived the opportunity to spend precious moments in similar occasions with their loved ones.

I guess this reflects the sad state of our justice system.

The poor simply cannot enjoy what a detained Senator like Leila de Lima is privileged to have.

ILOILO, DIIN KA PAKADTO? (March 11, 2019)

Political strategy in the age of social media

This political season is an interesting study on how candidates are making use of social media for their campaigns.
Without a doubt, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube possess a tremendous influence on the minds of voters, particularly those below the age of 60.
While traditional media platforms like television, radio and newspapers are still very much in the game, studies have shown that their audience shares are dwindling.
This is particularly true for print media. But TV and radio have not been spared, and one indicator is the declining advertising revenue for these traditional media platforms and increasing advertising in social media.
As a political observer, I have been looking at the social media activities of local candidates, and there are still several who hardly have a presence even just on Facebook.
I liken these candidates to static, inflexible and clumsy armies over the centuries that have been decimated on the battlefield by opponents that were quick to adapt to changing times and embrace technology.
And social media requires a well-crafted message to voters.
Candidates must be aware that the competition for voters’ attention is broad and tight.
If you have lousy content, if you don’t present a message that resonates in the hearts and minds of voters, then you might as well pack up and leave the arena of battle.
Remember, as much as 75% (or even more) of voters depend on social media for their news, information and entertainment.

Gov. Defensor tries to salvage son’s candidacy as survey shows him sliding toward defeat

Up until mid-December 2018, the camp of Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr. has always trumpeted on the overwhelming lead in RACI surveys that his son, Toto, enjoyed over rival Cong. Ferj Gonzales Biron Full in the gubernatorial race.
Indeed, early surveys have placed Toto maintaining a comfortable 30% lead over Biron in the RACI surveys, giving the Defensor camp an overflowing dose of confidence.
But as I have always said before, that lead was influenced by a wrong notion among many voters that it was Arthur Defensor Sr. who was running.
As a result, Toto, by mistake, reaped a commanding portion of the expected votes from the surveys.
At the same time, Biron had not yet gone into high gear with his campaign.
And many people were unaware that the “knight in shining armor” image of the senior Defensor was a deception. His administration was a bird’s nest of corruption during the last 8 and a half years.
Then the flood gates opened.
The exposes on the corruption of the elder Defensor started.
Toto Defensor lined the highways and filled the airwaves with his propaganda using his “Toto” nickname instead of his real name with a “Jr.” prominently displayed.
And Biron went on the offensive with his personal visits to the different towns of the province.
At the bat of an eyelash (to borrow the phrase from John Bayona Castigador), Toto’s commanding lead vanished into thin air.
In the survey conducted by RACI for the period December 8-12, 2018, Toto’s numbers plummeted while Biron climbed steadily, and the two were statistically tied.
All of a sudden, the Defensor camp became silent about surveys.
From the grapevine, the Defensor camp also commission its own survey, and the results were the same.
It showed a trend: Biron was going up while Toto was going down.
This sent the Defensor camp into panic.
The father ordered new tarps printed; this time the name was “Arthur Toto (in smaller fonts) Defensor, Jr.”
Apparently, the father believes he can salvage the candidacy of his son by bringing back his name into the game.
But it is too late.
The truth that it’s a different Defensor who is running is out in the open.
Worse, Toto has failed to demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively to the people.
In fact, aside from his radio and TV spots, Toto has seldom been heard in public.
What is now happening is that the public perceives an aging father scrambling to force a victory for his son.
Too bad, Defensor could have preserved his son’s political future by agreeing to run as Vice Governor.
His ambition washed him out and will end his long political career in ruin and dishonor.
Instead of leaving a legacy, he will leave public life with heaps of unanswered issues of corruption on his back.

Liar, thief

This aphorism couldn’t have found a better example than Governor Arthur D. Defensor, Sr.
But more than a cousin, Defensor is both liar and thief.
That’s because Defensor doesn’t just lie; he also steals and breaks the law and flaunts it.
There are countless examples to prove this.
What’s worse, Defensor has fooled a lot of people into believing that he is a knight in shining armor, a clean and honest public official who pursues “reporma kag pagbag-o” as a platform of government.
Such dishonest and deceitful character of Defensor is demonstrated by the anomalous contracts for what is supposed to be his “legacy” projects at the Iloilo Capitol Grounds.


Governor Defensor toured Architect Paolo G. Alcazaren around the Capitol Grounds on January 25, 2016. (Photo credit: Erly Garcia/PIO)

It started with the procurement of the contract for a landscape architect.

In 2016, Defensor engaged the services of Architect Paolo G. Alcazaren to prepare the conceptual designs for the landscaping and park development of the capitol grounds.
Their first meeting took place in January 2016. Defensor proudly announced that he was hiring Alcazaren to do the designs.
On December 9, 2016, Alcazaren came back to the capitol to present his drawings and perspectives. Defensor and members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan were present at his presentation.arch-alcazaren-presents-capitol-masterplan5556943543562139841.jpg
The conceptual design was met with laudatory approval.
Hence, the logical next step was for the procurement of professional services (consultancy) to carry out the master planning, urban design and landscape architecture.
This involve the actual preparation of the detailed design.
Defensor wanted to give the P1.582 million contract to Alcazaren.
But there was a hitch.
As project consultant who did the conceptual designs, Alcazaren was disqualified under RA 9184 and its revised implementing rules and regulations from taking part in the public bidding.
He had a conflict of interest because of his involvement in the conceptual design phase.
This is where the dishonest and deceitful, and even criminal, character of Defensor came in.
(To be continued)