KAPA founder arrested, 1 follower killed in gun battle

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 21 July) – Police operatives arrested KAPA-Community Ministry International founder and president Joel Apolinario after a brief gun battle that left one of his followers dead and another injured in Lingig town, Surigao del Sur Tuesday morning.

Joel Apolinario and followers after the raid. Photo courtesy of PNP-Caraga

PNP Caraga spokesperson Major Renel Serrano said 23 followers of Apolinario were also arrested during the raid.

Serrano said a team of police and Army operatives raided the hideout of Apolinario in a resort in Barangay Handayaman in Lingig at 7:30 a.m.

He said a brief gun battle ensued, resulting in the death of one of the followers of Apolinario. Another follower identified as Melecio Siano was wounded in the brief exchange of gunfire, he added.

Serrano said when police searched the hideout, they found a cache of high-powered firearms consisting of 30 units of M16 rifles, two M4 assault rifles, a Garand rifle, three M60 machineguns, a caliber .50 Barret sniper rifle, three caliber .22 rifles, an M1 Carbine rifle, a shotgun, two rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers, five caliber .45 pistols, two rocket propelled grenade and several hundred rounds of ammunition.

Serrano said Apolinario was brought to the PNP-Caraga regional office in Camp Col. Rafael Rodriguez in Butuan City after he was arrested.

Firearms seized from KAPA during the raid. Photo courtesy of PNP Caraga

He said the law enforcement operation was done on the strength of a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Gil Bollozos of Regional Trial Court Branch 21 in Cagayan de Oro for syndicated estafa.

The RTC issued a warrant of arrest for Apolinario and eight of his associates, Serrano said.

The Department of Justice accused Apolinario, a former DJ and technician at a radio station in Bislig, Surigao del Sur, and his associates of “willfully, unlawfully and criminally” engaged in the sale or distribution of securities in the Philippines without a registration filed at and approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The SEC, who conducted its own investigation, said KAPA, short for Kabus Padatuon (translated as to make the poor rich), employed a Ponzi scheme, an investment scam that offers impossible high returns and pay investors using the money contributed by later investors.

“The scale of the investment scam could easily run to hundreds of millions of pesos,” the SEC investigation said.

The SEC said the suspects did this by offering the public 30-percent monthly return of their investments.

The SEC said KAPA’s investment scam became successful when they engaged the public on Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms.

Aside from the case in Cagayan de Oro, the Department of Justice also filed criminal cases against the suspects in Bislig, Surigao del Sur, in Quezon City and Antipolo, Rizal. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)