Kapa founder falls in Surigao del Sur raid
2 killed in ensuing gunfight with police team in secluded beach resort
BUTUAN CITY, Agusan del Norte, Philippines — Kapa Community Ministry International (Kapa) founder Joel Apolinario, who faced syndicated estafa charges, was arrested by the police on Tuesday morning in a secluded beach resort in Lingig town, Surigao del Sur province.
Apolinario, 46, was linked to a pyramiding scheme that had reportedly duped thousands of investors, mostly from Mindanao.
Reports said Apolinario’s men opened fire at the team from the Surigao del Sur police that was serving the arrest warrant on the Kapa leader.
Two unidentified men were killed and another, Melecio Siano, was wounded in the ensuing gunfight.
The police team was armed with an arrest warrant issued by Judge Gil Bollozos of the Cagayan de Oro City Regional Trial Court (RTC) and a search warrant issued by Judge Shineta Tare-Palacio of the Surigao del Sur RTC.
The operation was led by Col. James Goforth, Surigao del Sur provincial police director.
Aside from Apolinario, 23 of his men were also arrested. A cache of weapons and assorted bullets were also seized.
Among the seized weapons were three .60-caliber machine guns, three .22-caliber rifles, a shotgun, two rifle-propelled grenades, five .45-caliber pistols, 30 M16 rifles, two M4 rifles, a Garand rifle, a .50-caliber sniper rifle, and a Carbine rifle.
Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered authorities to stop the growing operation of various pyramiding investment schemes which supposedly offered a 30-percent return of “donations-cum-investments.”
In a bid to pressure the government to recognize its supposed contributions to the poor, Kapa organized last year a huge rally in General Santos City that Apolinario attended.
It was Apolinario’s last appearance before his group’s members although similar rallies were also organized in other parts of the country.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), on May 21, advised the public not to fall for “fake news” that fraud charges against Kapa had been dismissed.
It noted that Apolinario, along with the group’s other officers, had only managed to secure conditional and temporary liberty after posting bail.
According to the SEC, Kapa supporters and promoters have been circulating videos featuring a purported telephone interview with Apolinario, falsely claiming that all cases against Kapa had been dismissed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. —Reports from Erwin Macariñas, Froilan Gallardo and Inquirer Research
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