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Right to mutual association

Jude Josue Sabio .

IT may be true that Kapa Community Ministry International, by name and scheme, is very similar to the Greater Ministries International in Tampa, Florida that was raided and closed with its leader Gerald Payne sentenced to prison for 27 years.

However, although Kapa can be likened to the Greater Ministries International as a Ponzi scheme along religious lines, the people can still be presumed to have legitimately formed a mutual association for their mutual benefit and welfare, in the absence of any actual damage or defraudation to them. 

In a mutual association, the people mutually carry the benefits and risks of their association. They achieve happiness through the mutual benefits in the same manner that they run the risk of misfortune in case of collapse of their association. 

Whether the people achieve happiness or suffer misfortune through their mutual association is within their perfect right to bear, because people have the natural right to form and operate a mutual association.  If they achieve happiness or suffer pain or misfortune, they accept it as part of their mutual association.

At the time President Duterte raided and closed Kapa, its members were still happy with Kapa’s huge “blessings.”  There was no complaint because there was yet no damage or defraudation to its members.  In other words, their mutual association Kapa still served their mutual happiness and welfare.

The people were still in their perfect natural right to continue with their mutual association that would best cater to their mutual needs and benefits. There was, therefore, no reason at all for President Duterte to have precipitately closed Kapa.     

If our society were in a state of anarchy, there is no President Duterte to close Kapa. Anarchism is order without authority. In the view of anarchists, the government should not exist, and people are governed by voluntary and mutual associations, without any control by any outside authority.

In a state of anarchy, Kapa would have continued unmolested, and people would still have been allowed to continue enjoying the “blessings” in their pursuit of happiness which is, ironically, the aim of government, as stated in the United States Declaration of Independence. 

In reality, however, we have a government. Unfortunately for the people, there is President Duterte who precipitately intervened and abruptly ended the people’s pursuit of happiness thru their mutual association. 

But having a government does not mean that President Duterte can do just whatever he wants because our government is ruled by law. Ours is a regime governed by the rule of law, not by one man.  

As an elementary fairness being part of due process, President Duterte should have first warned the people that Kapa is a scam. This is necessary, because people are entitled to freedom of association in the Constitution. 

In fact, much earlier, President Duterte was supportive of the people’s right to mutual association when he said that Kapa is good for helping the people. 

If President Duterte changed his mind, which he does most of the time, he could have at first just urged the people to withdraw their money and for Kapa to release their money within a reasonable period of time.

Kapa and the people could have been put on effective notice that their mutual association is contrary to their mutual benefit. But even then, it was still up to the people to do or not to do what the President wanted them to do.  

It was still up to the people to further enforce their legal right to continue their mutual association. The rule of law provides legal remedies for them. In fact, they already successfully secured an order of injunction from a court in General Santos City, in order to ensure the continued operation of their mutual association.

Although the President could have warned the people against the supposed evils of Kapa, he should have also borne in mind that there was then already an order of injunction issued by the General Santos court in favour of Kapa.

The President should not have just ignored and brushed aside this court injunction. For, as the chief executive, he took an oath to follow the laws and the Constitution.  

He should have respected and followed the commands of the courts by not proceeding precipitately with the raids and closure. In closing Kapa precipitately and abruptly ending the people’s happiness, the President only undermined the judiciary and eroded the rule of law.

Without President Duterte’s special, premature and precipitate  intervention at the instigation of Pastor Quiboloy, Kapa could just have  found a legal way to continue in a regime of law.  But just like the Greater Ministries International and other Ponzi schemes, Kapa could just later unravel by itself and most likely collapse sooner than later.

By the time it would collapse, it would then be up to the people to complain to President Duterte who would then have all the reason to raid and close Kapa  and send its founder Pastor Apolinario to jail.

But judging from the way things have happened, what President Duterte did is highly premature and precipitate, which only earned the perpetual ire of more than five million of his mass political base. In turn, Pastor Joel Apolinario has gained massive popularity as a living Moses among the masses.    

Vital signs of a massive erosion of mass-based support against President Duterte are emerging which could have serious permanent and continuing political repercussions against President Duterte in terms of his mass appeal.

The Kapa omen encapsulated in the Kapa member’s stinging remark “bitayin na yan si Duterte” will spell a certain long-lasting disaster for President Duterte and his allies,  just like the Yolanda omen that has been haunting the past administration even up to the last elections.

(Jude Josue L. Sabio is a lawyer from Misamis Oriental.)

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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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