GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 13 June) – Thousands of members of the embattled Kapa Community Ministry International, Inc. staged a rally here Thursday to urge President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his order to shut down what he dubbed as an investment scam.
But Duterte, who distributed certificates of land ownership at the Lagao gymnasium here, stood pat with his decision to close the group’s operation.
“Tuo mo nako kay abogado ko, inyo kong Presidente. Kung naa pay tinuod ana, ako nay muingon na sige asta ko muapil na. Ayaw mog sulod ana kay ilad na (Believe me because I’m a lawyer, I am your President. If indeed that’s for real, I will be the one to tell you to go ahead, and I’d even join myself. But don’t you get involved in that because that’s a scam),” he said.
Police placed the number of Kapa rallyists at 100,000, mostly coming from different parts of Mindanao, even from as far as Bislig in Surigao del Sur, where the group started operations three years ago.
The gathering, organized in response to President Duterte’s order to shut down the group’s operation, snarled morning traffic on the way to the Antonio Acharon Sports Complex in Barangay Calumpang.
Kapa founder Joel Apolinario arrived at past 5 p.m. aboard a helicopter.
Before noontime, he told his followers in a phone patch that Duterte wanted to meet him in Davao City to discuss the controversy, an information that drew applause from the crowd.
The President arrived here Thursday afternoon to award certificates of land ownership in a different venue, at the Lagao gymnasium.
In his phone message, Apolinario urged Kapa members to continue appealing to Duterte to withdraw his order to concerned government agencies to shut down the organization that claims to have over five million members inside and outside the country.
“We have done no violations, everything we’re doing is under the constitution,” the Kapa founder said.
Apolinario quoted the Bible to stress that the group “can overcome its predicament.”
“If God is with us, who can be against us,” he said.
When he later showed up at the rally, Apolinario told the crowd that “Kapa’s operation is now fine with Duterte.”
Apolinario even praised Duterte and presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte during his brief appearance at the rally.
Duterte, in a recent interview with Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, ordered the closure of Kapa Ministry over allegations that the group was involved in a pyramiding scam and violated securities laws.
Kapa claims to have five million members from inside and outside the country. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)