THE DURIAN BEAT
By Roger Balanza
Kapa, among the Tagalogs, means to grope, the act of blindly looking for something out-of sight using the hand. If we throw in sexual desire, kapa means groping at those where the hand should not be without permission. But the naughty type of kapa we leave out, this piece being not about sex but about the seriousness of the fate of victims who lost billions of pesos in the biggest scandal involving gullible and greedy Pinoys dreaming of becoming millionaires out of their investments of a few thousand pesos in just a few months.
The Bisaya has a word that sounds similar to the Tagalogs’ kapa — kapakapa, which means plodding through difficult financial straits.
The Tagalog’s kapa and the Bisayas’ kapakapa, taken together, may as well describe the current situation of victims of investment scams: they kapa, groping blindly for hope they would recover their loses; and are now kapakapa, in hard times, ruing and crying over their lost investments.
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KAKAPAKAPAKAPAKAPABA? Will you still invest and lose your shirt? Are you hoping you can get your money back?
Methink, we should invite another Tagalog word in this piece, kaba, which means fear.
Kakabakabakapaba? Do you fear that your investment is now totally lost? Fear no more because, whether you like it or not, your hard earned money is lost, forever.
Kakapakapakapakapaba? No more, because there is no hope of getting back your money and you will have the misery of having been a fool to invest in a scam.
The original investment scam Ponzi scheme gravitates around the adage “early birds get the worms.” It promises high returns on investment, with the first investors, the early birds, getting the moolah and laughing their way to the bank. The early birds spread the news about the bonanza to lure more birds, who get no worms, because investment scams are not forever. In this scam, late investors subsidize returns of the early birds. When saturation levels are reached and there are no more new investors, the scheme collapses.
The biggest scam of all, the Mindanao-based KAPA or Kabus Padatoon Community Ministry of self-proclaimed pastor, Joel Apolinario, promised a 30 percent monthly Return-On-Investment (ROI). Introducing itself as a religious organization, Kapa claims a membership of 3 million, who “donate,” not “invest,” their money to the Apolinario “ministry.” Kapa is considered to be the biggest ever investment scam in the Philippines that used religion as a front.
Kapa became a big success in key cities in Mindanao and spawned copy cat get rich schemes that promised ROIs of as much as 400% every month.
As competition became stiff, and “pay-ins” (new investments) became scarce, Kapa and the rest of the scammers defaulted on “pay-outs” (ROIs). The racketeers overcame the crisis by selling its long-term, compounded interest “lock-in” scheme, where the investors do not get monthly returns but will become instant millionaires after a few months or years.
With pay-ins getting thin and the promised pay-outs slowly vanishing, investors started to grumble loud and alerted the slow-footed Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which was awakened from its stupor three years a after scams like Kapa started their illegal operation.
SEC declared Kapa as without registration as an investment company and issued a cease-and-desist order against the fake ministry. SEC also declared several other copycat scammers illegal.
The rest is history: as thousands cried over their money, Apolinario and the brains of the other investment scams went missing.
They flew away with the billions of pesos of the duped investors who still hope to recover their investments, which is next to impossible.
LET US COUNT THE MISFORTUNES OF KAPA AND OTHER SCAMMERS AND THE INVESTORS.
President Rodrigo Duterte orders closure of Kapa and other investment scams.
Kapa execs face raps over securities law violations
SC junks investors’ plea vs. Kapa closure
Warrantless arrest for Kapa members
Davao court hands down travel ban vs Kapa execs
DOJ orders Kapa execs to answer SEC raps
Search warrants issued vs. groups in investment scam
DOJ places Kapa execs under immigration watchlist
NBI, CIDG intensify raids vs. offices of Kapa, others
‘Investors’ told to file charges vs. invest scam officers
Apolinario, other Kapa execs no-show in DOJ hearing
Remember that what happened above is not exclusive to Kapa. Similar actions will be a reality for the other scheming outfits and their officers, the drive against the investment scammers being a full-blown war ordered by the President to save more people being duped to part with their money.
The saddest reality here is that investors should say goodbye to even the slightest of hopes they would be able to recover their money.
After being fleeced by Apolinario’s investment scam, they now blame President for ordering the closure of the illegal Kapa and demanding for the continued operation of the racket they claim lifted them out of poverty. They have conducted massive prayer rallies to convince the President, coupling their demand with an insane political threat they would field Apolinario for President in 2022 against Duterte’s candidate.
The government can never be responsible for the foolishness of citizens who out of greed for quick money willingly fall prey to illegal activities like investment scams.
Tolerating the racket of Apolinario and company
meant that President Duterte should also tolerate drug dealing because many pushers make a living out of drugs.