Ledesma: Tagum the epicenter of scams? (First of two parts)


IN HIS inaugurals as re-elected city mayor of Tagum, Allan Rellon looks to the future of this capital as the "City of People." Hardly had the din of the applause ebbed another man was gunned down. The victim was the fifth person who was executed by still unknown gunman or gunmen.

It used to be that the victims were involved in drug trafficking, this time, however, the loose talk is that the killing has something to do with the investment scams that had proliferated in Tagum City. I am not prepared to accept that rumor even as it is persistent because the authorities are still in the process of investigation. What is troubling is that at the rate people are being summarily executed in broad daylight, the situation is definitely alarming.

The occurrence of summary liquidations in Tagum came on the heels of the

recent midterm elections. There was sudden bonanza in the city. It is no secret that election spending in this vote-rich city was unprecedented. By some estimates, over a billion pesos was splurged in the first district alone for the simple reason that the number of registered voters is said to be greater than those of the combined voters of other towns, ushering in a new dimension of criminality in the capital of Davao del Norte which, like Davao City, is known for peace, tranquility and development during the time of no nonsense Mayor Rey Uy. This time, however, the police authorities are as confused and still has to point out who are the perpetrators and why are people being killed.

One thing is certain, however, Tagum has become the epicenter of pyramiding scams and not a few had fallen victims to the get-rich-quick investment Ponzi-styled scheme.

President Duterte had issued a direct order to the National Bureau of Investigation, Crime Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police following the declaration of the Securities and Exchange Commission that the likes of Kabus Padatoon (Kapa) is a fraud. Roughly translated, it means or it promises that the poor will get rich.

The tentacles of Kapa spread so quickly with stories from radio personalities spreading the opiating stories of “donors” getting back not less than 30 percent each month for whatever they amount the place in the Kapa Ministry founded by a former disc jockey from Bislig, Surigao. His name is Pastor Joel Apolinario. No one from among his disciples in the broadcast medium explained how he became a pastor for unlike other religious denominations Kapa does not even have a modicum of a house of worship.

In fact, majority of those who donate huge amount of money are Catholics and a few members of the indigenous people in South Cotabato and Agusan.

Apolinario started his caper in the isolated town of Bislig. But the pyramiding scheme in that laid back town collapsed as there were not enough recruits to sustain its operation. He faced a number of estafa complaints but somehow got away with the cases by way of amicable settlements. The story had it that he and his family later relocated to General Santos City and resumed his “ministry” this time with a registered name Kapa. (To be continued)


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