PNP to investigate police, soldiers involved in Kapa activities
The chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday said a special task group will be created to investigate if there are any policemen or soldiers involved in the activities of Kapa Community Ministry International after its leader, Joel Apolinario, was arrested in Surigao del Sur.
"The special task group is also there to investigate who are involved here, the members they're are talking about, not only from the police or AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) but all members coming from the government,” Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa said in a virtual press briefing.
Two of Apolinario's followers were killed and one injured as police engaged them in a firefight on Monday. After Apolinario and his men were arrested, many high-powered firearms were found, which Caraga regional police director Brig. General Joselito Esquivel said, are only used by persons with police or military training.
"Probably in the interview that we will conduct on the 23 personalities that we have apprehended, maybe they can speak to help us on this," he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure of Kapa in 2019 following complaints from investors they were duped.
Kapa allegedly promised investors to donate any amount in exchange for monthly returns of 30 percent for life, news reports from 2019 quoted the Securities and Exchange Commission as saying. SEC estimated Kapa had five million investors.
Gamboa said if evidence warrants, they will file cases against those from the government.
“I know this will be a great task on the part of Police Region Office 13 but if we will not do this, of course there will be a lot of questions. So we create a special task group just to answer all the questions in the future because a lot were victimized,” he said.
Gamboa said they will plan a more specific directive but the Caraga regional police can start their investigation now.
Gamboa also said the special task group will also assist the people who were allegedly swindled by the group.
“Of course the claimants would ask where they will go (for help)…. Now we know, in the previous cases of Apolinario, there have been attachments made by the court… I don't know if what agency is going to take charge but it seems we are first (to handle) now. We will just create a special task group purposely first to take care of all the complainants and the possibility of facilitating their claim over the properties and bank accounts attached," he said.
"Anyway, since Apolinario is with us, if those who were swindled before wants to claim… we just put things in order. We just take the lead unless the Department of Justice (DOJ) would later on take cognizance of all of this," he added.
In a statement, the PNP chief commended the operating teams from Caraga police for the arrest of Apolinario and 23 others in an isolated Island Resort in Sitio Dahican, Barangay Handamayan, Lingig, Surigao del Sur.
“The special directive came from President Rodrigo Duterte. Arrest Apolinario and his cohorts to vindicate the thousands of members from Visayas and Mindanao who were victimized by Kapa’s massive investment scam,” Gamboa said.
According to him, the operating team has been monitoring the whereabouts of Apolinario and his armed men since January.
“The operation is also pursuant to the PNP’s campaign against loose firearms as Apolinario was reportedly carrying unlicensed high-powered firearms and ammunition for his personal bodyguards,” he added.
During the operation, a firefight ensued which resulted to the death of two of Apolinario’s men while one was wounded.
Confiscated were numerous high-powered firearms including 30 units of M16 rifles, two units of M4 rifle, one unit Garand rifle, three units of 60 cal. machine gun, one unit of 50 cal. sniper rifle, three units cal.22 rifle, one unit carbine, one unit shotgun, two units of rifle propelled grenades, five units of caliber 45 pistol, and assorted rounds of ammunition.
Esquivel said these arms are only used by servicemen.
"These kinds of armaments are only being used by servicemen so it is presumed that some of them have a background in military or police training. That is part of the ongoing investigation," Esquivel said.
Esquivel said government troops are securing the place of the incident as the provincial crime laboratory of the Surigao del Sur police is still conducting accounting and inventory of evidence. Ella Dionisio/DMS