Lanao Sur ‘highly volatile,’ say policeBy Doris C. Bongcac
ZAMBOANGA CITY—Security forces in Lanao del Sur see the situation brought about by the collapse of the Jachob “Coco” Rasuman financial scheme as “highly volatile.”
Senior Superintendent Romeo Magsalos, Lanao del Sur police chief, said in a phone interview that although the investors’ “emotions have been contained,” they still consider the situation “highly volatile.”
Brig. Gen. Daniel Lucero, chief of the 103rd Army Brigade, agreed. “We have been prepared since July. We know the peculiar culture of the Maranao and that is the reason local government units, along with the security forces, created a crisis committee, to effectively handle the case. We want to avoid clashes among the Maranao,” Lucero explained. Most of the investors are Maranao people.
“Rasuman is not hiding. In fact, he made some pronouncements several times that he’ll return the investments by February. The authorities just beefed up security and we have asked the people to calm down. The investors are looking at Rasuman’s assurance with an iota of hope. They hope they can retrieve their investments,” he said.
Magsalos also denied reports that Rasuman is under police custody. “There’s no case filed against him, and we cannot arrest him unless we are ready to be charged with arbitrary arrest or detention,” Magsalos said.
He said Rasuman opted for “voluntary custody” with the technical working unit of the provincial crisis management committee. The committee is headed by Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong.
Danny Dimaporo of the provincial crisis management committee said that as of
Aug. 21, a total of 323 claims against Rasuman, amounting to nearly P1.13 billion, had been recorded.
“If investors want to see Rasuman, they have to seek permission from the technical working group,” he said.
He added that violent incidents between investors and Rasuman’s agents have been “contained after Rasuman appeared on television and radio seeking understanding and airing his personal apology.”
“We are trying to secure any possible situation that may erupt,” Magsalos said.
Magsalos also denied reports that an agent was shot or killed in Marawi City. “If someone has been shot, that has nothing to do with the Rasuman case,” he said.
In Cebu, the city treasurer’s office (CTO) will revoke the temporary business permit granted to the Cebu office of Aman Futures Group Inc., a trading firm involved in a P12-billion Ponzi scheme that victimized more than 15,000 people from the Visayas and Mindanao.
City treasurer Emma Villarete said Aman Futures had failed to comply with the requirements for the issuance of a permanent business permit after it was issued a temporary business permit on Sept. 28.
“I already sent a letter to [Cebu City] Mayor Michael Rama [seeking permission] to revoke the business permit issued to Aman Futures for noncompliance with regulatory policy,” she said.
Another option is for the CTO to issue a notice of noncompliance to the requirements, which could lead to the closure of the business.
Villarete said Aman Futures applied for a business permit on July 25 indicating online marketing services as the nature of its business. It was issued a temporary business permit on Sept. 28, which was supposed to be valid for only 30 days to give them time to comply with the requirements for the permanent business permit.
Villarete said CTO inspectors visited Aman Futures’ office at Keppel Building but it was already empty.
In October, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a cease-and-desist order against Aman Futures to stop offering unregistered securities, soliciting investments or pooling funds.
The Department of Justice has summoned the officers of the firm involved in the scam that lured victims to invest their savings in the double-your-money scheme.
Eight complainants in Cebu had completed the requirements for the filing of a syndicated estafa case against Aman Futures, said Eduard Villarta, Central Visayas director of the National Bureau of Investigation. Reports from Julie S. Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao, and Doris C. Bongcac, Inquirer Visayas