Bishop urges help for scam victimsBy Carmel Loise Matus
CEBU CITY—A retired teacher has fallen ill because of anxiety about the fate of the money she had invested in a firm that operated a “double-your-money” scheme.
The teacher is just one of what Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II said was more than 10,000 victims from the Visayas and Mindanao lured by the pyramid scam ran allegedly by Pasay-based trading firm Aman Futures Group Philippines Inc.
The teacher was a parishioner who had stopped going to church since she fell into depression after losing her retirement benefit to the trading firm, said Bishop Antonio Nercua Ablon, bishop of Pagadian City of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, in a phone interview.
Ablon said the public school teacher in Dinas, Zamboanga del Sur, put her P500,000 retirement money to the trading firm after she was lured by the promise of doubling her money in 20 to 30 days.
Many of his parishioners invested in the firm, hoping to get high returns, he added. “It had given people false hopes,” Ablon said.
Ablon said he told their pastors to conduct counseling sessions for the victims. “Life must go on,” he said.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the police are looking for one Manuel Amalilio, chair of Aman Futures, with address at 99 Espina Village B. Rodriguez Extension in Cebu City.
Roxas told a news conference on Friday night that he was coordinating with the local police and the NBI-7 to locate Amalilio.
Other persons allegedly involved in the scam were identified as Cebuana Lelian Lim Gan, Fernando Luna of Pagadian City, Eduard Lim, Naezelle Rodriguez, William Fuentes and Lurix Lopez.
Roxas said he was also coordinating with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for a hold-departure order to be issued against Amalilio and others involved in the scam.
He described Amalilio as a Filipino of Malaysian descent. Roxas said there were many complainants, but at this stage, the case has not “matured” to the point of filing a case.