Kapa founder, Joel Apolinario, (left photo, seated) with an unidentified female companion after their arrest. The high caliber firearms confiscated from Apolinario’s security forces that engaged arresting officers in a fierce firefight. (right photo) [photo from social media]

Controversial Kapa-Community Ministry International founder Joel Apolinario was arrested after his security forces engaged arresting authorities in a fierce gun battle resulting in the death of his two men Tuesday morning.

Apolinario and 23 others were arrested in an isolated resort in Sitio Dahican, Barangay Handamayan in Lingig town, Surigao del Sur at around 7:30 a.m.

Apolinario’s men engaged arresting officers in a firefight, resulting in the death of two Kapa members at the scene. Melecio Siano, one of Apolinario’s men, sustained a gunshot wound and was immediately sent to the Bislig City District Hospital for medical care. 

Arrested KAPA suspects, including Apolinario, are facing large-scale syndicated estafa case, a non-bailable offense. The Bislig City Regional Trial Court Branch 29 released warrants of arrest earlier this year. 

KAPA or Kabus Padatoon (making the poor rich), a religious group had been recruiting members and requiring them to donate funds in exchange for a 30-percent monthly return — called “love gifts” or “monthly blessings” — in perpetuity.

The Department of Justice filed criminal charges against the controversial group for alleged violations of the Securities Regulation Code. State prosecutors said KAPA was “willfully, unlawfully and criminally” involved in the selling of securities to the public without a legal registration from the SEC.

SEC also filed a complaint in June 2019 regarding KAPA’s Ponzi scheme, an investment plan that gives high returns and pays investors using money donated by other investors.

The Court of Appeals froze all bank accounts and properties connected to KAPA.

KAPA, however, remained firm on its stand as a religious group and consistently denied allegations that it is involved in an investment scam.  (RJ Espartinez)