By JIGGER JERUSALEM
with NITZ ARANCON
and LITO RULONA
AT least 6,000 people in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental alone took the risk by investing in Kapa-Community Ministry International despite the government’s warnings, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said yesterday.
The NBI said this a day after it raided one of the offices of the religious cum investment group in Zone 5, Barangay Igpit, Opol town, Misamis Oriental, Monday afternoon.
Lawyer Patricio Bernales Jr., NBI regional director, said authorities counted some 6,000 filled-out membership forms seized from the group’s Igpit office, and investigators suspect all the applicants have already invested on the Kapa scheme.
“That’s what we’re working on right now. We are sorting out the names of applicants, and the amount they invested. From there, we can see the amount that was collected and deposited to them (Kapa),” Bernales said.
Although the minimum amount members could invest or “donate” to Kapa is P5,000, it’s possible that there are members who have given more than that, he said.
Authorities said Kapa members have been promised a return of 30 percent of their “donation” every month.
Armed with a search warrant issued by a regional judge in Manila, NBI agents and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) officials raided a house in Igpit and another office in Valencia City where they found heaps of paper, cash amounting to about P300,000, computers, and a vault.
Bernales said the pieces of evidence authorities seized in the Opol and Valencia raids, including documents, would be sent to the NBI in Manila.
Bernales said the search warrant is based on Section 8 of Republic Act 8799 or the Securities Regulation Code.
Section 8 states that “securities shall not be sold or offered for sale or distribution within the Philippines, without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the [SEC]. Prior to such sale, information on the securities, in such form and with such substance as the Commission may prescribe, shall be made available to each prospective purchaser.”
Just recently, SEC has issued a cease-and-desist order for Kapa.
He added it is up to the Kapa members if they want to take back the money they have invested or donated to the organization.
Aside from Kapa’s offices in Valencia and Opol, NBI said the religious group also has an office in the eastern part of Misamis Oriental.
During the simultaneous raids on the Kapa headquarters in Opol and Valencia, the NBI didn’t catch any Kapa official or member.
The NBI however said it found out that the house in Opol was leased to one Analiza Dangcalan, allegedly the area manager of Kapa for Misamis Oriental.
Bernales said authorities are now looking for Dangcalan and her associates.
On its Facebook page Kapa CDO Team, the group urged its members to “keep calm legal process ang tanan ang importante everyone is following the rule of law and we shall win [in] the end. Keep praying. CTTO ATTY ARVIN”
In another post, it said, “Recently our Ministry is faced with oppression and harassment from both ends. We need to counter these through prayers for we believe that it is the only powerful weapon that we had in these times of crisis.”
The group said its leader, Pastor Joel Apolinario, declared a “week of prayer” June 9, 2019, “and in observance thereof, there will be no office transactions.”
This paper checked Kapa’s Igpit office yesterday, and found its gate padlocked.
Meanwhile, SEC regional director Renato Egypto said authorities would keep an eye on other groups suspected to be into investment scams in the region.
Egypto said the pieces of evidence authorities seized the other day were enough to build a strong case against those behind Kapa.
He said there was an attempt to camouflage the investment scheme with the use of the words “donation,” “love gift,” and “blessings.”
“There is an initial violation in terms of donation of deeds because there was a return of the alleged invested donations. Mohatag kita og donation nga walay gapaaboton in return,” he said.
Egypto added: “Naa sab kami’y video nga nakuha during their orientation nga maoy gamiton namo as an evidence. The call the returns as ‘love gifts’ to show that they are a religious organization, but these are actually returns of investment.”
He said Kapa has no license to operate as an investment company.