Revoke Kapa permits, DILG tells local government units

City and municipal mayors must revoke business permits granted to Kapa-Community Ministry International Inc. and its local chapters, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Monday.

This developed as Kapa’s spokesman said politics was behind the crackdown on the religious group accused of running a massive investment scam, as they renewed their appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to let them operate.

The National Bureau of Investigation also vowed to pursue Kapa founder Pastor Joel Apolinario even without an arrest warrant, and use the powers of martial law currently in force in Mindanao to bring the former disc jockey in.

NBI agents raided the house of Apolinario in General Santos City on June 10 but failed to arrest him. Authorities also failed to apprehend the pastor when he showed up at Kapa’s big prayer rally on June 13. The organization is based in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, also in Mindanao.

In a press statement, Año said this would keep the public from being “duped into investing their hard-earned money into an apparently fraudulent investment scheme.”

“Many have been deceived and many more of our countrymen will be duped by this investment scam if the mayors won’t act on this. They should make sure Kapa’s operations will not continue,” the Department of the Interior and Local Government chief said.

Año stressed it was the duty of city and municipal mayors under Republic Act No. 7160 of the Local Government Code “to issue licenses and permits and suspend or revoke the same for any violation of the conditions upon which said licenses or permits had been issued pursuant to law or ordinance.”

A business permit was not a right but a privilege granted by the state, the DILG secretary said.

“In the case of Kapa, it is very clear that it has abused the privilege given by the government as it has ventured in an enterprise which promised profits that it can not fulfill,” Año said.

He also ordered all local chief executives “to refrain from issuing business permits in favor of Kapa Ministry, its allied subsidiaries, and organizations” and deny all existing applications for permits of the group.

Año reminded the public to be wary of “get-rich-quick” schemes, quoting Duterte: “As the President said, if it’s easy money, most likely it’s too good to be true. Nothing beats money earned by diligence and hard work.”

On June 4, the Court of Appeals issued a freeze order on Kapa Ministry’s bank accounts and other assets, as the Securities and Exchange Commission considered the company an investment scam that it estimates has already pulled in P50 billion from its five-million members.

Duterte has ordered the NBI and the Philippine National Police to shut Kapa down. He also apologized to the people victimized by the group, which accepts “donations” of no less than P10,000 from each of its members in return for a promised monthly interest rate of 30 percent, dubbed as “blessings” by the group.

Kapa spokesman Danny Mangahas, however, claimed that politics was behind the government’s crackdown against their ministry.

“We believe we have stepped on the toes of the oligarchs, the rich people who are not investing with them because most of them are investing with Kapa instead,” Mangahas said in the vernacular in an assembly Sunday in Taytay, Rizal.

“These are voluntary [contributions to the ministry]. We do not expect a return from Kapa. Nobody is complaining [among the members]. If this were another networking company, someone would have already revolted. Most likely they are crying over where their money has gone,” the spokesman added.

Kapa members present at the Taytay rally appealed to the President to let them operate, saying they also supported the Duterte administration’s fight against criminality.

“You are the father of the poor, we are the poor. We hope you can consider our request. We are with you in your battle against criminality and poverty,” the members said during the assembly.

READ: P100-m Kapa assets frozen, more to follow—watchdog

READ: 6 Kapa members commit suicide in wake of raid

Topics: Kapa-Community Ministry International Inc. , Eduardo Año , Department of Interior and Local Government , Rodrigo Duterte , Joel Apolinario
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