Kapa Community Ministry International is in trouble with the law not only for its alleged fraudulent investment schemes but also because it has wooed away members of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ―a religious sect whose founder, Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy, is a close friend of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Kapa’s founder, Pastor Joel Apolinario, told the online news site Politiko.com on Thursday he believes he has gotten under Quiboloy’s skin after poaching a big chunk of the latter’s church membership.
Both organizations operate out of Mindanao, Duterte’s home region. Quiboloy’s headquarters is at the “New Jerusalem” in Davao City, the President’s hometown, while Kapa was founded by Apolinario from Bislig City in Surigao del Sur.
This led members of both groups to express on social media that they were in a turf war, with Kapa seemingly expanding its membership―to about five million at present―at KJC’s expense.
The pastors had already traded barbs earlier. Quiboloy, in his own television program on Tuesday night, said Apolinario was a fake pastor, that his ministry was “violating the law,” and that Kapa could not be called a religious group.
The Kapa leader fired back on his group’s radio program the next day, saying Quiboloy was sending out KJC members to either beg in the streets or sell food such as rice cakes.
“Quiboloy has seen that there are some of his [sect] members that he cannot order to ask for money anymore because they have become rich [as members of Kapa],” Apolinario said in the vernacular to Politiko in a phone-in interview.
Apolinario believes that since Quiboloy is losing members in this “religious rivalry,” the self-styled “Appointed Son of God” has turned to the President to crack the whip on Kapa and its investment scheme, which the former has maintained is not a scam.
“I am only giving financial assistance to my members so we no longer have to wallow in the misery of poverty,” said the founder of Kapa, which bills itself as a religious organization but accepts members from all religions, even Muslims and other Christian denominations.
In the Politiko interview, Apolinario called on Kapa members to continue to pray that Duterte reconsider his order to shut down their organization.
“This is not illegal, this is a religion that believes that poverty is the kingdom of Satan,” he added.
However, the President―appearing on Quiboloy’s “Give Us This Day” TV program on June 8―ordered the National Bureau of Investigation and other government agencies “to shut down investment schemes that are proliferating, mainly in Southern Mindanao, for conning people of their hard-earned money,” according to a Philippine News Agency report.
The PNA report added: “Interviewed by his friend Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, Duterte said the activities of these investment schemes, including the Kapa Community Ministry International, are clearly a form of estafa.”
Asked by Quiboloy about Kapa, whom the President had mentioned earlier in the program, Duterte called the latter a Ponzi scheme and the people behind it liable for large scale estafa.
On Tuesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission also denied it was influenced by Quiboloy to shut down Kapa. SEC chairman Emilio Aquino said the insinuations were untrue since the process of getting a freeze order on the group’s operations was processed as early as March this year.
Still, supporters of both Kapa and KJC spoke out on social media.
On Facebook, user Rodge Diaz posted on Monday: “Pastor Quiboloy and his members has a liberty of sending people all around Davao with envelope asking for donations from random people without something in return, not even water. While KAPA is doing something better almost the same ‘donations’ but 30% will revert to donator monthly. But the president chooses to shut it down because he listened to the person who lives in a private village with a private plane, and ignored the voice of thousands who wants nothing but survive and get the poverty out. #WhatAShame.”
Twitter user @shewrites25 said: “Kapa stopped being a religious organization the moment it asked for money donations and is active in financial investments. This is so far to what should a church as a body of Christ does. And, so are Roman Catholics, the Quiboloy’s.”
READ: SEC: P50 billion flowed into KapaREAD: ‘Kapa in large-scale estafa’READ: Cult in trouble for invest schemesREAD: Kapa members flock to Gensan, slam crackdown
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