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Cult in trouble for invest schemes

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the closure of Kapa Community Ministry International due to numerous complaints of illegal collections in the guise of religion, the Palace said Monday.

In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President ordered the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation to shut down firms allegedly engaged in fraudulent investment schemes.

“If the crime is being committed now, they can stop it. They can padlock that company,” Panelo, who is also Presidential chief legal counsel, said.

Panelo said the President has received many complaints about the alleged bogus investment scheme by Kapa.

“There have been numerous complaints with the President. Me too, I have been receiving complaints from certain people. That may have prompted the President to order the closure,” he said.

Duterte said the activities of these investment schemes, including the Kapa Community Ministry International, are clearly a form of estafa.

“The operation of Kapa was a clear pyramiding scheme, which collected money from its members to give to the pioneering operators of the group. When it is too good to be true, it is fraud,” Duterte said.

Kapa, a Surigao del Sur-based religious corporation, was allegedly soliciting investments from the public by encouraging them to “donate” any amount in exchange for a 30 percent monthly return.

Duterte said it was impossible for a group to give a 30 percent monthly interest on investments because banks here and abroad could only give a maximum of 3 percent interest per year.

Investment scams have sprouted in Southern Mindanao and have reportedly branched out to as far as Luzon.

Kapa, headed by Joel Apolinario, promises a 30 percent “love gift” each month.

Some schemes, such as the Tagum City-based Rigen Marketing, Jogle, and Ever Arm, even promise a return of up to 500 percent.

He said the interest received by members was drawn from the money of new recruits, who were drawn into investing in the pyramid scam.

Non-government organizations linked to the Kapa Community Ministry International Inc. on Monday came forward to deny they were part of a pyramid scam.

At a news conference in Quezon City, Ahon sa Kahirapan (ASK) leader, Core Pastor Joewie Argate of the Christ the Lifeshaper Church, appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his decision to shut down investment schemes, including Kapa Community.”No one has ever filed a complaint against Kapa,” he said, adding in Taytay, Rizal alone, there are over 50,000 individuals who have improved their lives when they joined Kapa Community.

“We would like to clarify that we are one with the President in getting rid of investment scams. We are just a religious organization wanting to help the poor,” Argate said.

“This is not a pyramiding scam,” ASK convenor Danilo Mangahas said.

On Feb. 25, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a cease-and-desist order on Kapa Community for alleged unauthorized solicitation of funds from the public.

The General Santos City Regional Trial Court Branch 34 challenged SEC’s issuance of a cease-and-desist order against Kapa Community, saying it had no jurisdiction over issues involving religious freedom.

According to Argate, they would stage a prayer rally for unity tomorrow (Wednesday) in front of the EDSA Shrine in Quezon City.

The Philippine National Police warned against investment scams, saying the public should be wary about the high returns being promised. With PNA

READ: CA freezes bank accounts, assets of religious firm

READ: Duterte sets crackdown on 'investment' scams

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Kapa Community Ministry International , Salvador Panelo , Philippine National Police
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