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Kapa shut down, but HK donors insist it’s not scam

27 June 2019

Labatt Jalilo dela Torre asks, “Hindi pa ba kayo nagsawang magpaloko?” KAPA founder Apolinario promises monthly ‘blessings’ of at least 30% of the ‘donation’

By Daisy CL Mandap

Hong Kong members of the shuttered Kapa Community Ministry International in the Philippines have remained adamant that the group was operating legally when its license was cancelled by the Securities and Exchange Commission in early April.

Many are also pinning their hopes President Rodrigo Duterte would change his mind about ordering Kapa shut down in mid-June, calling it a “scam.”

SEC followed up on Duterte’s pronouncement by filing on Jun 19 a rare criminal prosecution of the founder and other officials of Kapa, which they accused of operating a Ponzi (or pyramiding) scheme involving Php50 billion in investments of its more than 5 million members.

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Charged for violation of the Republic Act 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code were Kapa founder and President Joel A. Apolinario, trustee Margie A. Danao and Corporate Secretary Reyna L. Apolinario. Also named in the complaint for promoting the investment scam were Marisol M. Diaz, Adelfa Fernandico, Moises Mopia, Catherine Evangelista and Rene Catubigan.

SEC alleged in its complaint that Kapa had asked for at least P10,000 in donation, with the promise of a 30-percent monthly “blessing” or “love gift” for life, without having to do anything other than invest and wait for the payout.

Despite these, a number of migrant workers in Hong Kong who had given a “donation” to Kapa are still insisting there was no scam involved.

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“Wala naman na scam sa Kapa. Ang founder naming di naman lumayas. Ang DOJ (Department of Justice) nagsabi pwede na mag-open kaya lang freeze (sic) pa account ng founder at di pa nag Oo si Duterte na mag-open ulit…Nakahanda kami maghintay kung kailan mag Oo si Duterte,” commented one Jhe-Jhe Aranzado in a Facebook post.

She also used the oft-repeated argument of Kapa members who are still hoping against hope that they can still get their money back, that no one has filed suit against Kapa for the supposed scam.

But another OFW donor who said she is now convinced that she had been scammed, replied that the only reason nobody has come out to complain is because they are still hoping to get back their hard-earned money, along with the promised return.

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The OFWs in the same thread reported donations in the hundreds of thousands of pesos from migrant workers in Hong Kong alone. One said she had knew of someone who, after gaining Php250,000 decided to put it back in, then borrowed more money in Hong Kong to make her total investment amount to Php1million, “kasi triple ang balik.” She was one of those left holding the bag after Kapa was shut.

The arguments are all under the bridge now, after a group of donors asked the Supreme Court to on Jun 26 stop the SEC from implementing its order canceling Kapa’s license, and demanded  Php3 billion in damages.

The group, Rhema Int’l Livelihood Foundation or Cirfund also wants President Duterte impeached for calling Kapa a scam and ordering its shutdown.

In Hong Kong, the warning against Kapa was first issued by Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre, who said in a Facebook post on May 24:

“If it’s too good to be true, it’s most probably a scam. The KAPA is one such example. The Securities and Exchange Commision has already warned the public about KAPA and yet many OFWs still fall for it. For God’s sake, hindi pa ba kayo nagsawang magpaloko?

In a later post, he explained that Kapa’s pyramiding scheme is unsustainable because the payouts to earlier investors are taken from the “donations” of later investors or donors.

“As the scheme draws in more and more recruits, the payouts become heavier and heavier and unsustainable because wala namang business at grupo na makapagbigay ng income and sustain the payouts or returns to investment,” he further explained.

Kapa, which also goes by the names Kapa Kabus Padatuon (Enrich the Poor), KAPA/ KAPPA (Kabus Padutoon), and KAPA-Co Convenience Store and General Merchandise, was stripped of its registration by the SEC on April 3 this year for “serious misrepresentation on what it can do or is doing to the prejudice and damage of the public.”

The en banc decision said the revocation of Kapa’s certificate of incorporation was due to its act of offering and selling investments in the guise of donations without the necessary license and in a manner resembling a Ponzi scheme, otherwise known as “pyramiding”.

But in spite of the SEC decision, many Filipinos, including those working abroad, kept putting money into the organization, which despite claiming to be a religious group, did not have churches, only offices and companies.

News reports from the Philippines say many had put in hundreds of thousands of pesos, after getting the promised “blessing” initially. Some kept adding to their investment, while others decided to roll over their money after being told they had already gained from their initial investment.

“The more you give, the more you receive,” was the exhortation posted on Kapa’s website.

Judging from the huge turnout at a recent “prayer rally” called by Apolinario to get his operation resumed, a big number of the donors could now kiss their money goodbye.
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