KAPA members hold vigil, insist they are part of a religious organization

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 13) — In the wake of the government’s crackdown on Kapa-Community Ministry International Inc. over alleged investment scam, thousands of members held a prayer vigil in Quezon City Monday to show their unity.

Members of the organization, wearing white shirts, singing songs and raising lighted mobile phones trooped to the Quezon City Memorial Circle to attend the vigil.

Danny Mangahas, convenor of Ahon sa Kahirapan — KAPA's Luzon representative — denied allegations that the KAPA was running an investment scam, and instead reiterated that the group was a religious organization.

"Simula po Friday, Saturday, Sunday hanggang Wednesday — kung kami po ay scam nag-alsa masa na po sana yung mga nagrereklamo na 'di sila nakakatanggap ng monthly blessing. Isa pong patunay na aming samahan na KAPA ay talagang religious organization," he said.

Mangahas said they are open to any investigation.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said KAPA had 5 million members, however that number was denied by Mangahas who said there were 10 million members, majority of whom are members of the urban poor and overseas Filipino workers.

KAPA, led by founder Pastor Joel Apolinario, has come under fire for allegedly running an investment scam.

An advisory from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said KAPA was enticing the public to invest in the guise of a “Deed of Donation” or “Certificate of Membership” with a promise of 30 percent interest every month for life.

President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the National Bureau of Investigation to crack down on groups involved in such investment schemes.

RELATED: After KAPA, SEC runs after 5 more ‘investment scams’

KAPA members are appealing to Duterte to reconsider his decision to close the organization, saying the money they receive from KAPA helps with expenses such as tuition for their children's education.

Mangahas speculated that the sudden crackdown on KAPA field offices has something to do with how the organization posed as a competition to businessmen.

Meanwhile, thousands of Kapa-Community Ministry International Inc. members in North Cotabato started their journey Wednesday ahead of a two-day prayer rally in General Santos City.

The government of General Santos City issued permits for the rallies scheduled June 13 and 14.

CNN Philippines correspondent Crissy Dimatulac contributed to this report,