MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III has filed a resolution calling for a Senate inquiry into why government regulatory bodies failed to prevent financial frauds that have victimized thousands of people, many of them common wage earners.
Pimentel’s Senate Resolution No. 908 proposes an investigation by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and its committee on trade and commerce, which would also look into the reported involvement of public officials and the investment of public funds in the illegal schemes.
“[The] stiff penalty provided under our criminal laws for syndicated estafa and the existence of government regulatory agencies such as the [Securities and Exchange Commission] and the [Department of Trade and Industry], among others, have failed to deter the proliferation of corporations, partnerships, associations or persons operating illegal investment schemes in the country,” Pimentel said in his resolution.
Pimentel, a re-electionist senator, cited the scams allegedly perpetrated by Aman Futures Group, Philippines, and Visioner 2020 Trader’s International in Pagadian City and the Coco Rasuman Investments in Lanao Del Sur and the Parent-Teachers Pyramid Scam in Quezon City, “which have collectively victimized at least 15,000 investors all over the country of over P12 billion in funds.”
“[It] was reported by the media that local government officials where these fraudulent operations were carried out may not only be involved in these illegal investment schemes but worse, they may have used the internal revenue allotment of their respective local goernment units as their personal investment in the said fraudulent schemes,” Pimenetal said.
Pimentel said the reported malversation or plunder of public funds “underscores the need for the legislature, as holder of the so-called power of the purse, to recommend the filing o appropriate charges with the Office of the Ombudsman, should it find that there is probable cause against certain local government officials.”
“It is also imperative that an investigation on these illegal investment schemes be conducted to determine possible loopholes in existing laws and institutional lapses that have allowed these fraudulent schemes to flourish so that the legislature may enact remedial measures that would prevent the rise of similar fraudulent activities,” Pimentel said.