KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia –The recent abduction of four people in Lanao del Sur was a form of payback for another kidnapping in a convoluted series of attempts by various victims to recover millions of pesos lost in a widespread swindling scam allegedly perpetrated by Aman Futures Group Phils. Inc., a military official said Saturday.
Brigadier General Daniel Lucero, commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a telephone interview from his camp in Lanao del Norte, that the latest abduction was carried out by one Toti Montila, who has a brother who was an agent of Aman Futures and was himself abducted by a client who was demanding the return of his investment in the company.
Montila’s family had reportedly also invested some P22 million in Aman Futures, which was coursed through another agent, who was the brother of two of Montila’s victims.
“There was pressure on Toti Montila because his brother was also [taken] for his failure to return the investment of his kidnapper. He cannot find the agent [whose surname is] Lucman so he decided to kidnap [Lucman’s] brothers and cousins,” Lucero said.
He identified Montila’s victims as Abdul Muhaimen Lucman, Muhamad Dresa Lucman, Camlon Deca, and Amer Deca.
Members of the 103rd Infantry Brigade rescued the victims on November 12, after 11 days in captivity in Piagapo, Lanao del Sur.
Operations to capture Montila were ongoing, Lucero said, adding that Montilla’s brother had yet to be rescued and his kidnapper identified.
The kidnapping in Piagapo has been elevated to the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), a peace mechanism of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front because Montila and his reported cohorts had entered an MILF area, according to AHJAG chairman Brig. Gen. Roland Amarille.
“We had to coordinate with the MILF because our troops will enter their area for law enforcement operations,” Amarille told the Inquirer in Kuala Lumpur,where he is attending the 33rd round of exploratory talks between the government and the MILF.
Amarille said that the successful coordination between the Armed Forces and the MILF could be credited to the preliminary Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro which has facilitated coordination between the two parties.