Kapa founder Joel Apolinario, with his wife Reyna behind, speaks to the media during the rally Thursday, June 13, 2019, in General Santos City. (Photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO / Inquirer Mindanao)
DIGOS CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — Joel Apolinario, founder of the Kapa (Kabus Padatoon) Community Ministry International Inc. founder, has gone into hiding ever since the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) ordered a manhunt on him.
But the leader of what President Rodrigo Duterte called the “biggest investment scam” in the country could still regular post his videos online, urging followers to pressure the government to lift the closure order on Kapa.
Early this week, photos of Apolinario eating “salvaro” (cassava crisp) and another one of him sleeping on the ground using only a cardboard sheet for a mat, went viral on social media, eliciting sympathy from supporters.
In a video message posted on June 21, he also asked the government to help Kapa return the money to its members after their bank account was frozen by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
“Yung pahayag po ng SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) na sinabi nila na napaka-imposible po na ma-provide yung binibigay natin na financial assistance sa lahat ng mga tao, sa lahat ng mga miyembro, eh sa kanya po imposible yun pero sa Panginoon po ay wala pong imposible,” Apolinario said in a video message to his followers.
[Regarding that SEC statement that it is impossible for Kapa to pay that kind of amount to all our members, I can only say that it may be impossible for SEC, but for God, nothing is impossible.]
Apolinario also admitted he was in hiding because of “threats” to his life.
Still, most followers had not yet abandoned Apolinario, who they believed, was only helping the poor with his “get rich quick” scheme.
Kapa is offering 30% “blessings” for every P5,000 donation from each member across the country.
The controversial former broadcaster-turned-pastor was last seen in public on June 13, during a General Santos rally, when he was shuttled in by a helicopter to speak before a crowd of Kapa supporters gathered at the Oval Plaza.
On June 19, a day before another big rally organized by Kapa members, Apolinario uploaded another video message, telling followers there was no other way to press the government to listen to their clamor but through a prayer rally.
On Thursday, a group calling itself the Federal Tribal Government of the Philippines (FTGP) and claiming to represent the Lumad here has joined the call for the government to allow the Kapa to reopen.
Datu Douglas S. Mangcal, FTGP provincial tribal chieftain of Blaan Tribe in Davao del Sur, asked the government to dismiss all the cases against Kapa because Kapa had been “helping the poor, including the Lumad.”
FGTP circulated the letter through social media starting on Thursday, June 22, and sent copies to the Office of the President, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the United Nations office, the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The letter came a day after hundreds of Kapa members from Compostela Valley, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte launched another two-day prayer rally at the New City Hall of Tagum City on June 20 and 21. The rally called on the President to lift the closure order against Kapa.
In his letter, Mangcal asked the government to dismiss “all imaginary and premeditated cases against the Kapa Community Ministry International Inc. in 72 hours.”
Citing the Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997 (Republic Act No. 8731), which recognizes the rights of the Lumad, Mangcal also asked the government to intervene for the Lumad because they were among those affected by Kapa’s closure.
Other Kapa members also converged in different parts of the country, asking the government to listen to their pleas and allow Kapa to operate again.
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)
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