Mindanao lawmaker calls for probe into pyramid scams



MANILA, Philippines — A Mindanao congressman is set to file a resolution in the House of Representatives to investigate the multi-billion-peso scam that had rocked the region.

Lanao del Norte Rep. Vicente Belmonte Jr., chairman of the House committee on dangerous drugs, said he would call for the inquiry and would extend an invitation to all those who were involved in the scam perpetrated by Aman Futures Inc. and the Jachob “Coco” Rasuman group.

“I will file a resolution to conduct a house investigation on the scam in aid of legislation and will invite those who were involved and I will invite you,” Belmonte said in a telephone interview.

Belmonte called up this reporter on Sunday, to deny reports of his involvement with Rasuman who, according to the National Bureau of Investigation, pulled off an even bigger fraudulent money-making scheme than that of Aman Futures headed by a Malaysian, Manuel Amalilio.

“I am never a protector and an investor of Rasuman,’’ Belmonte said.

Belmonte was reacting to a Philippine Daily Inquirer story which cited an NBI intelligence report that linked him to Rasuman.

Mayor Lawrence Cruz of Iligan City also called up to deny reports of his involvement in the Rasuman group.  “I have not invested a single centavo in the two scam companies and was never their protector,’’ Cruz said in the telephone interview.

However, Belmonte and Cruz confirmed in separate interviews with the Inquirer a part of the NBI report that stated Rasuman held office and conducted his transactions in Iligan city.

The two said in separate interviews that Rasuman’s investors were the region’s wealthy and influential who conducted their bank transactions in the city.’

Belmonte further said he did not know Rasuman personally, and met him only once when Rasuman visited him at his house in April 2012.

He described Rasuman as young and around “27-years old.’’

Belmonte explained that Rasuman went to see him and asked for security from local law enforcement agencies as news of problems in his investment operations — some having branded the operations as a scam — went around the city.

“I was the one who alerted the authorities about him and when he apparently found out what I did, he came to my house like anyone would come to my house because it’s also my office,” Belmonte said.

“He assured me that he had stopped his double-your-money venture,’’ Belmonte shared.

Belmonte further added that the reason there were fewer victims in Iligan lured by the Rasuman and Aman Futures because “people in this city are educated.’’

Cruz, on the hand, explained it was impossible for him to be involved in the scam as he was even the first to create a task force to tell the public not to invest in the two groups, the Aman Futures and the Rasuman group.  “I created a task force and done radio broadcasts to warn the public not to invest in these companies,’’ Cruz said.

Cruz said he formed the task force after he learned in a trip to Cagayan de Oro that a group of scam victims and their relatives had blocked the gate of a subdivision in the city to force Rasuman to face them.

“I presided over a task force meeting to ensure that peace and order in the city prevails in the aftermath of the scam,” Cruz said.

NBI said Rasuman scammed more than the P12 billion that Aman Futures took in its own pyramid scam, but Rasuman’s victims numbered less.

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  • Hunter421

    For goodness sake. LEAVE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS TO THE PNP & NBI. Do any of these politicians have such training that the government spends millions of taxpayer money on? Perhaps an investigation if the PNP & NBI fail, but they need to give them some time. If not just send the PNP back to the Armed Forces and let senators and representatives handle all of the country’s criminal cases.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IGLQQ2TTZF3BAWUHUWLFWVPZDE Vladymir

    so what’s the difference?Less or more victims does’nt make it a lesser crime…what a stupid comment from the premier law enforcement agency.

  • EdgarEdgar

    To lawmakers who are seeking fame, fortune and TV facetime, this is your chance. Seize the moment and capitalize on this pyramid scam. Noynoy’s administration was alerted of this before June 2012. They had six long months to act on this and to dismantle the pyramid early on. They had six long months to get their acts together, get the real financial score of Aman Futures with the help of AMLC, get the Aman officers invited for questioning, get the necessary cases filed and get the bad people behind bars. And yet none of that happened. To the lawmakers who are truly intent on digging deeper and getting to the bottom of this, understand that your efforts might backfire. Understand that you may uncover too much of the present administration’s shortcomings and end up making an enemy of the president. Probe you must, but at your own risk.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EDXEVEFHW2ZT5VWHDWBNM6XGE4 RyanE

    I guess this proposed probe will be just a waste of time. Better to include fundamentals of business in high school curriculum so that students and perhaps even their parents will know something about the facts and fallacies with regards to investments. 

  • noel

    cong. what have u done in iligan…giving coffins, abuloy, tents…ikaw pa nga  chairman committee on dangerous drugs…hehehe 

  • opinyonlangpo

    Probe what? It is already under investigation and the Malaysian authorities are already helping repatriate the mastermind. The congressman just wants a share of the limelight to put up an image of protector of the people, its too late they were already victimized. Fifteen thousand greedy victims and nobody realized it as a scam, a lesson well deserved.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GG4T5UNZ3P7SCHSRNJ7PF5JZMM Jimmy

    Congressman ka sa Mindanao ay hindi mo alam ang nangyayari..!!! Ngayon mag papaimbestiga ka pagkatapos na mapahamak ang mga tao..??  Congressman, governor, mayor at barangay chairman ay may pananagutan diyan..!! Paano nakapagtayo ng negosyo yang mga manlolokong yan kung walang permit..???  Bakit binigyan ng permit ng hindi muna
    iniimbestiga kung anong klaseng negosyo yan..???

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_V7W2T7T2N37DLVYJSM2OV4GJ4A Ramon S

    Dami nang SCAM na nangyari pati insurance scam, pension plan scam, CAP PLAN scam imbistigasyon pa rin hanggang ngayon . Congressman natutulog sa pancitan gawa kayo ng batas LIfe Sentenced ang dapat dyan with out bail,

  • Chloroform

    I hope these are not a “fund raising campaign’ for the election… aside from investigating what happened, I think congress should also review all the laws and government protocols applicable in those cases. then try to strengthen, tweak, amend or form a new law so that fraudulent businesses will not have the opportunity to operate in their respective districts…

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