‘…(A)re they God’s test to the credulity of Filipinos?’
WHY didn’t I think of that first?
Any ambitious, self-respecting pastor would perhaps ask himself this question, when told of the feat of one Pastor Joel Apolinario of the KAPA International Community Ministry in Mindanao, who had successfully mixed pretensions of religious piety with the Ponzi money-making scheme — or shall we say scam?
In the guise of receiving religious “donations” from members of KAPA ministry, Apolinario has established a business conglomerate in just a matter of months, with interests in agriculture, fisheries, food production, trading, clothes, educational institutions, hospitals, and the like.
Aside from using Jesus Christ, the Bible, and the idea of an afterlife in heaven to convince his members to the fold, Apolinario has an even better — though worldly — incentive. The business-minded pastor promises to give 30 percent interest on donations masquerading as investment to his church, the Kabus Padatuon (KAPA) International Ministry. With members numbering some 5 million, many of them tribal Filipinos in Mindanao, KAPA has become a huge business conglomerate in the South.
Like all Ponzi schemes, the KAPA was able to pay its early investors, and so success beckoned. Greed and the desire to get rich quickly have become the primary reason for ordinary residents in the South to join KAPA. These are more compelling reasons than the desire to be close to God, or be saved in the afterlife, if there is any, or to find solace in the divine.
Exactly one year after the KAPA bubble burst and after six months of surveillance, Apolinario was cornered by the Caraga police in an isolated island in Sitio Dahican, Barangay Handamayan of Lingig town, Surigao del Sur, last Tuesday. The police served him a warrant of arrest, his 21 bodyguards resisted, opened fire, and two of the bodyguards were killed.
Apolinario and his group will be facing numerous criminal charges for the illegal operation of KAPA and for deceiving the people, especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tribal groups, small teachers, factory workers, policemen, soldiers, OFWs, farmers, students, etc. in General Santos City, Bohol, Cebu, Davao, Bukidnon, Tagum and other cities who fell prey to KAPA will have their revenge but we doubt if they can get at least part of their money back.
We now ask the question: Apolinario’s KAPA, and shall we include those of Quiboloy, the benevolent missionaries, Soriano, Abante, Villanueva, Manalo, the Vatican, the NCCP, the CBCP, the Blue and Pink mosques, the Seventh-Day Adventists, the witnesses of Jehovah, El Shaddai, evangelicals, and all the other churches throughout the centuries — are they God’s test to the credulity of Filipinos?