Pagadian City Mayor urges DOJ to probe evidence against him

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

ILIGAN CITY—Mayor Samuel Co of Pagadian City called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to examine the testimonial and documentary evidence that allegedly linked him to Aman Futures’ double-your-money scam.

“It’s easy for people to say things against me. I urged Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to carefully scrutinize what she called testimonial and documentary evidence,” Co told the Inquirer by phone.

Co insisted that he had nothing to do with the investment scam, saying that he, himself, was a victim.

The mayor earlier claimed that he lost at least P5 million to Aman Futures when it collapsed in late September.

He said he was being singled out because Zamboanga del Sur Gov. Antonio Cerilles wanted to discredit him. Co is the provincial chair of the Liberal Party.

“Cerilles wants to enter the Liberal Party. That’s why he wants me out,” he said.

Co will be running for a congressional seat in next year’s elections against reelectionist Rep. Victor Yu, a known ally of Cerilles of the Nationalist People’s Coalition.

Co is a known ally of Romeo Jalosjos, a former congressman and convicted child rapist, whose brother, Dapitan City Mayor Dominador Jalosjos, is challenging Cerilles’s reelection bid.

Another Jalosjos family member will face the governor’s wife, reelectionist Rep. Aurora Cerilles of the province’s first district, in next year’s polls.

“This is also the reason Jalosjos is being dragged in the issue,” Co said.

Politically motivated

“These accusations are all politically motivated. Secretary De Lima should be careful,” Co added.

But the mayor said he was willing to face the charges against him.

“These are all fabricated. I will face those who accuse me,” he said.

Co said he was in Manila with his lawyers.

He also questioned claims allegedly made by Aman Futures agent Maria Donna Coyme that he invested P30 million as “start-up capital.”

“Coyme claimed she joined Aman in May. Aman started in January or February. How can she say that I provided the start-up capital when she was not there yet?” the mayor said.

Four shot dead

Co also decried the killing of a member of his security staff, John Paul Go, who was shot dead on Tuesday in Pagadian City.

The mayor said Go was the fourth person he trusted who had been killed since the Aman Futures controversy broke out.

The first was Rene Ebol, the head of the city’s barangay affairs; then Evelyn Declaro, a former barangay chair and assigned at the Solid Waste Management Office; and Arthur Hadjirul of barangay affairs.

“Until now nothing has been done to find out who are the killers. All of them were shot to death,” Co said.

Cerilles denied he had a hand in the allegations against Co.

“How could that be? It was he who issued permits to Aman Futures and it was I who wrote the NBI asking for an in-depth investigation of Aman operations after many residents sought the government’s intervention to get back their money,” Cerilles said in a phone interview.

Co admitted issuing a permit to Aman Futures, but said this was canceled after the firm failed to submit the required documents.

In September, Co said he issued a temporary permit to the firm with the sole purpose of allowing Aman Futures to pay the investors.

Co also said he was the one who first asked the national government for an investigation, “but everything changed when Cerilles entered the picture.”

“When he (Cerilles) joined, the blame was put on me,” Co said.

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  • 711sense

    Sounds like a huge  but sort of disrespectful challenge to DeLima from the Mayor of Pagadian. What are you waiting for madam Justice Secretary?

    • ApoLapullapu

      Many things have been happening in Zamboanga del Sjur that the DOJ should have investigated long ago.

      • 711sense

        You maybe right but without complainants who wanted to risk their lives and or an incident so huge (like the Maguindanao masacre) that no want can’t ignore, the DOJ Secretary and her troops will just play deaf and turn their heads to something controversial  and a publicity rich investigation like the case of the Mayor of Coron, Palawan and his brother who were accused of the murder of Dr. Ortega. Or perhaps prematurely announcing by filing cases against some big fish who scammed billions of pesos in Mindanao. Hopefully, they have enough evidence to charge the lower than dirt who took money from people and runaway.

  • DOUANE

    Eh kung ganyan lang sana lahat ng inaakusahan eh.

  • EdgarEdgar

    In fairness to the Pagadian City mayor, further investigations may yet reveal his innocence in this case. He may not have anything at all to do with this scam after all. But right now, Mr. Mayor fits the bill and has to play along. With DOJ scrambling to pretend it has the situation under control, Leila de Lima is desperately in need of a scapegoat. And that’s where Mr. Mayor comes in handy. Over the next few days or weeks, we will hear Leila de Lima denouncing Mr. Mayor for not moderating his greed. Which is pretty much like how Noynoy blamed the victims for being victims when the news first broke weeks ago. But all this will serve to divert public attention away from the fact that DTI alerted other government agencies about the scam as early as April 2012. That DOJ, SEC and AMLC sat on the case for eight long months until everything came crashing down is simply hard to understand. Even Senator Escudero now lays the blame squarely on the door of AMLC for ignoring the big red flags earlier on. As it turns, Leila de Lima’s purported powerlessness and Noynoy’s feigned impotence are just shameless excuses for not acting soon enough. They could have done something to dismantle the pyramid and unmask the conman earlier on. Eight long months is a lot of time. Eight long months is a lot of time to dilly-dally.

    As expected, Noynoy’s administration always saves the best for last. They only act long after the fact. AFTER THE FACT.

    • ApoLapullapu

      But you must also consider the fact that Amalillo is not a GMA crony. Thus, he is not a target of the AMLC and others.

  • Vertumnus

    It’s really quite simple!  If Mayor Co doesn’t have anything to hide, then let the DOJ investigate all allegations against him.  Maybe this is a political plot to remove him as mayor but given that he was involve in giving Aman Futures permit to operate, makes his role in this whole fiasco questionable.  If he is innocent, then that more political fodder for him to use for reelection.  Mayor Co was Aiding and abetting Aman Futures willingly or unwillingly.  That’s up to the DOJ to investigate.  A simple lifestyle check on all of Mayor Co assets should reveal whether he was in cohoots with Aman Futures.
    If Filipinos put the same amount of energy from getting rich quick schemes to advancing the welfare of the Philippines, we would have surpassed Japan a long time ago.  But greed will get you every single time!

    • ApoLapullapu

      The people of Zamboanga del Sur know who is the biggest schemer in their province but they are afraid.  A lot of people had been killed.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AH7MNEFRF4G4ZQ6PA2OE4Z3BEU Verlito

    Aman uses a government office through the mayor to proliferate its scam activities and the mayor as a businessman is not that naive.

  • Barak_O

    jalosjos and scam

    they go together

    • nakawan

      don’t forget statutory rape

  • Manolo Villareal

    Putting politics aside, Mayor Co owes some explanations still.  If Aman Futures is not a SEC registered business entity and presented itself as a corporation, the LGU should have denied issuing a business permit.  Even an LGU like Cebu City also admitted that it issued a temporary business permit and also cancelled later (I suspect it had cancelled only when the scam exploded).  I used to have a corporation business and it’s not easy passing through the SEC, BIR, SSS, Philhealth, Pag-Ibig and the LGU to operate legally as a business enterprise.  Why do scammers get theirs so easily?  Investors could have smelled a dead rat when they deposited their investment thru the bank, which I suppose in the name of Amalilio, not in the name of Aman Futures.  Banks are so strict in juridical identities as clients.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WJX5I5FJL52QCZDUKDNWOTIZHQ Lateralus

    investigate cerilles

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