Latest Stories

Aman employees warned of collapse, says investor

By ,

The main gate of the Aman Futures office compound remains locked in Pagadian City. PAMFILO CABONILAS JR./CONTRIBUTOR

PAGADIAN CITY, Philippines—Weeks before Aman Futures collapsed, employees of the firm had been warning investors to withdraw their cash placements as soon as they matured to avoid “losing their money forever.”

Looking back, an Internet cafe operator, who had plunked down P200,000 on a 20-day placement with Aman Futures, said the staff had hinted something bad was about to happen.

The operator, who asked to be identified only as Andres, said his own contact had told him that a local politician had withdrawn P19 million in principal and interest sometime in August.

Pagadian Mayor Samuel Co had earlier admitted to having invested in the scheme and said he lost about P5 million.

“He (the contact) convinced me that the withdrawal could be a signal that things were going wrong or were bound to go wrong,” Andres said.

Pagadian Business Chamber president Mercedes Lourdes Quisumbing said she had information pointing to placements made by other politicians who may have been raising funds for the 2013 electoral campaign.

Generoso Bayawa Jr. also heard that some Aman staffers were telling investors to pull their money out.

But Bayawa, a local government employee, said the lack of a timeframe when the bust would occur had pushed investors like him to “try our luck even further” in order to optimize earnings.

“Looking back now, it was quite unbelievable that these warnings, coming from insiders, were unheeded,” Bayawa said.

Many employees in the Aman Futures office in Barangay Kawit live in the village and are relatives of Fernando Luna, one of the directors of the firm.

The warnings began spreading around August, according to Bayawa.

But the investors, he said, seemed to only pay attention to rosy news about fellow investors making more money out of their placements.

Because he also failed to heed the warnings, Bayawa said he lost P1.8 million from the scheme.

Fixated on making money

“We did not believe in the gloomy details because we were fixated with making the most out of the scheme,” Bayawa said.

Besides, the sheer number of people placing their money with Aman Futures seemed to belie the warnings, he said.

The Kawit operations appeared to be unending. Every day throngs of people flocked to invest in the scheme, Bayawa said.

A day before it actually closed shop, Aman Futures accommodated a large crowd of investors through its “VIP lane,” intended for big clients, several Kawit residents observed.

Some of them recounted seeing two pickup trucks unloading “fully loaded sacks,” presumably containing money.

Last call for cash-out

The last call for cash-out at the Aman Futures Kawit office was for placements that fell due on Sept. 25.

At around 3 p.m. of Sept. 26, Aman Futures stopped transactions.

Aman staffers were heard saying that there was an impending raid on the compound because the company’s business permit had not been renewed.

The firm’s employees hurriedly left, telling those waiting to cash out their investments to just hand in their claim receipts. Many investors quickly obliged.

Quisumbing said the closure of Aman Futures indicated that it had reached its “saturation point.”

“This is the stage in a racket when the timing and rate of funds inflow is outpaced by the amount of repayment obligations,” she said.

At this time, the investment racketeers simply disappear with the cash placements.

Quisumbing said she initially estimated the saturation point to be at P1 billion. She said this stage was reached by Aman Futures as early as April or May.

It was also around this time, Quisumbing said, that she had asked the local government to take action against the operation, which she branded a Ponzi scheme.

But the city government gave the firm another permit.

Sources in the business community told the Inquirer the meddling by some city councilors blocked the local government’s chance to crack down on Aman Futures when it was still possible.

The city councilors clearly didn’t want to disappoint the people taking their chances on the scheme, especially since 2013 was nearing, Inquirer sources said.

Senior Supt. Edgar Danao, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Western Mindanao, said more than 100 investors expressed their intention to file charges against the officers of Aman Futures.

“Majority of them are members of the police force and of the business community,” Danao said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Aman Futures , investment scam , Mercedes Lourdes Quisumbing , Pagadian City , Ponzi scheme

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  5. State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  6. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  7. Estrada: I will pray for my detractors
  8. Miraculous image makes Gapan City top site for pilgrimage in Central Luzon
  9. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  10. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • After quake, makeshift churches welcome pilgrims in Bohol
  • UN warns banana fungus spreading from Southeast Asia
  • Massive infra spending set
  • ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  • Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  • Entertainment

  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Mommy-daughter adventure continues
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan
  • Marketplace