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


BY THE time President Rodrigo Duterte ascertained the extent of Kapa’s operations, Joel Apolinario himself boasted that he has no less than five million members. It was in the segment of pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy’s televised program “Give Us This Day” where the President ordered the SEC, NBI and CIDG to shut down the operations of Kapa and to arrest those involved in what he termed as grand-scale estafa. By some conservative estimates at an average of P10,000 per donor, Apolinario could easily be the country’s uncontested business genius with P50-billion or more percolating in his bank vaults. In less than a year, the man rides in luxury vehicles and a helicopter. So step aside Manny Pangilinan and Ayala brothers.

When Duterte issued the order, Apolinario had the gall to call for a massive rally in Davao City to cripple city traffic and then later in General Santos City where the President was scheduled to distribute certificates of land titles to agrariran reform beneficiaries. The Davao demonstration never materialized while in General Santos, Kapa was able to muster a few hundred which later fizzled out. The latter issued a veiled threat that the Dutertes will lose their support in 2022.

Kapa skirted Davao City for obvious reasons. It’s the hometown of the President and you do not try that adventurism in the city. Still not a few who are lured into the scheme would quietly scoot to either Digos in Davao del Sur or Tagum City to donate their hard earned money, proceeds of loans, sale or mortgage of their lands. Jun Digamon, a hard hitting radio commentator who consistently warned of the fraudulent investment received threats instead. Meantime in Tagum, Kapa reared several clones among these are Rigen Marketing, Ever Arm, Forex Marketing Wellness 2.1, Titans 29 Marketing and Hermie Marketing. The owners, managers, recruiters and collectors behind these firms were reported to have gone into hiding afraid of reprisals from the donors.

The government crackdown resulted in the stoppage of operations and thus far over a hundred million in cash had been confiscated by raiding teams. These had also discourage would-be donors from placing their money in the shady Ponzi-style money placements. The anticipated “pay outs” of those who had already donated their money fizzled in thin air. Many attempted to withdraw their investments but since they acceded in the deal that their placements are to be acknowledged as donations there is nothing much to hope for in terms of recovery.

As I write this piece, I received fresh information that those involved in the operations of pyramiding scheme and had collected millions from donors had gone into hiding. What is worrisome is that the victims are not seeking government intervention and the possibility that they will take the law into their hands is not remote.

The problem here is that despite the crackdown and confiscations of cash and assets, I still have to hear formal complaints filed by government authorities. In the case of Joel Apolinario, he had been granting interviews to big networks and it seems suspiciously funny that government operatives cannot “invite” him too. This, despite the President’s order.

Back in Tagum City while Mayor Rellon exudes confidence that investors will come to this capital, for now not even Ponzi, if he is alive today, would set foot in that city. Not while the mysterious deaths remain mysterious.


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