By Jeffrey Damicog
Kapa-Community Ministry founder and president Joel Apolinario and his 13 co-respondents have been given by the Department of Justice (DOJ) more time to respond to the complaint of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which accused the religious organization of engaging in an investment scam.
The office of Assistant State Prosecutor Maria Lourdes Uy said the first hearing of the preliminary investigation of the complaint was held last Thursday, but none of the respondents was able to file a counter-affidavit.
Because of this, the panel of prosecutors, chaired by Uy, gave them another chance to file their counter-affidavits on September 3.
Aside from Uy, the other members of the panel of prosecutors handling the case were Assistant State Prosecutors Consuelo Corazon Pazziuagan, Xerxes Garcia, and Jeanette Dacpano, and Assistant Prosecution Attorney Luis Miguel Flores.
The NBI filed the complaint before the DOJ last July 7, and named Apolinario and 13 of Kapa’s top officials as respondents.
Aside from Apolinario, the other respondents named in the complaint-affidavit were Kapa corporate secretary Reyna Apolinario; treasurer Modie Dagala; directors Benigno Tipan Jr., Marnilyn Maturan, Riicky Taer, and Margie Danao; and incorporators Nonita Urbano, Junnie Apolinario, Nelio Nino, Maria Pella Sevilla, Jouelyn Del Castillo, Cristobal Barabad, and Joji Jusay.
The NBI recommended to the DOJ that the respondents be charged in court for “five counts of violations of Sections 8 and 26 in relation to 73 of the Securities and Regulations Code (SRC), and 8 counts of Syndicated Estafa as defined and penalized in P.D. (Presidential Decree) 1689.”
“The modus/scheme of KAPA is basically solicitation of money/investment from the public in the guise of ‘donation’ with a promise of perpetual monthly interest equivalent to 30 percent return/interest in the guise of ‘blessings,” the complaint read.
The NBI pointed out that, while the Certificate of Incorporation issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed that Kapa was a registered independent religious corporation, it did “not authorize it to undertake business activities requiring a Secondary License from this Commission…”
“KAPA is an organization/corporation that sells and/or offers security/investment contracts to the general public without authority and license from the Securities and Exchange Commission,” the NBI complaint explained.
“KAPA made it appear that the collection from the public of investment money is an act of a religious donation and the grant of investment is a form of religious blessing,” it added.
NBI said Kapa was “using religion to shield its organization from its unlawful solicitation of investments from the public through the employment of deceits, false pretenses and/or fraudulent acts.”
“The foregoing allegations are even bolstered when the NBI Team, went to KAPA Offices to investigate and conduct case build-up. They personally witnessed the investment scam/pyramiding scheme activities of KAPA particularly when they invested money to KAPA Offices as poseur investors,” it cited.
Apart from the testimonies of its undercover agents, NBI said three Kapa members have also filed complaints with the NBI, and “executed their ‘Sinumpaang Salaysay’ to attest on the investment scam/pyramiding scheme activities of KAPA.”
“All of them were deceived from investing money to KAPA on the belief that the latter is a legitimate organization. As a result, they suffered damages equivalent to the amount they invested including uncollected interests,” the NBI stated.