Gov’t told to prosecute local execs in Aman scam

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JAIL TIME Aman head Manuel Amalilio, founder of Aman Futures that duped 15,000 Filipinos of P12 billion, talks to his lawyer in Kota Kinabalu where a court sentenced him at least two years in prison for carrying a fraudulently obtained Philippine passport. MALAYSIA’S THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Lawmakers on Wednesday told government officials not to cry over the loss of Aman Futures Group head Manuel Amalilio to the Malaysians and instead start prosecuting governors, mayors and other local government officials who were instrumental in luring thousands of their constituents into putting money in the con man’s Ponzi scheme.

“The government should not wait for Amalilio’s return but begin prosecution of mayors and governors involved,” Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said.

“I think the evidence is very strong against them that the testimony of Amalilio will just be icing on the cake,” Bello said.

Amalilio was arrested in Sabah late last month on charges of passport fraud.

He pleaded guilty to the charges on Monday. He faced fine of up to 10,000 Malaysian ringgits (about P132,000) or imprisonment of two to five years or both.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Philippine law would eventually catch up with Amalilio.

Valte said Amalilio’s imprisonment in Sabah meant only a delay in prosecuting him in the Philippines for cheating 15,000 Filipinos, who lost P12 billion in his Ponzi scheme.

“While there may be a delay, it’s not a deterrent” to exacting accountability from Amalilio, Valte said.

Close ties with Malaysia

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the Philippines’ close ties with Malaysia would help the Department of Justice (DOJ) get Amalilio back.

“We believe the conviction of Amalilio by a Malaysian court is not the end of the world. It merely represents a delay in the attainment of that aspiration,” De Lima said in a statement she issued following Amalilio’s conviction in a Magistrates Court in Kota Kinabalu.

De Lima said the government would continue to “explore and exhaust all available and reasonable means” to ensure that Amalilio would face estafa charges in the Philippines.

“Our lines with our counterparts in the Malaysian government remain open. We shall count on the goodwill we have with them so that a solution can be arrived at,” De Lima said.

‘Coprincipals’

Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao said legal action on the Aman Futures scam should not wait for Amalilio’s return to the Philippines.

Aggabao said the local government officials who helped Amalilio con investors were “coprincipals in varying degrees of participation” with Aman Futures owner.

“Besides, they are solidarily liable with Amalilio for the civil indemnity owed the investors,” Aggabao said.

Aggabao stressed that the case should not live or die with Amalilio considering that Amalilio could not have won the trust of thousands of people into parting with their money on his own.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan said the government should not hang its head down after losing Amalilio but look forward to going after all people involved in the Aman Futures scam.

“Aman should be held to account for the scam but pending the resolution of his (Amalilio’s) case, [the] government should vigorously prosecute all others involved,” said Pangilinan.

Amalilio still key

But Sen. Serge Osmeña said that Amalilio was still the key to getting back the loot from Aman Futures.

“I am not a lawyer, but I believe Amalilio is the key. You may be correct [that governors and mayors were involved], but they will all claim they were all fooled by Aman,” Osmeña said.

Last November, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) ordered an audit of provinces, cities, and towns in Zamboanga, Northern Mindanao, and Soccsksargen regions amid reports that billions of pesos of their internal revenue allotment (IRA) funds were invested in Amalilio’s scam.

With governors, mayors and other local government officials endorsing Aman Futures’ get-rich-quick scheme, thousands of people became confident and invested their savings in the scam only within weeks of its established early last year, initially in Pagadian City and later in Muslim communities in Mindanao and the Visayas.

Arrested last month

 

Amalilio was arrested in Kota Kinabalu last month for carrying fraudulent identification papers. A team from the National Bureau of Investigation went to Kota Kinabalu to escort him back home but his departure was stopped by Malaysian police for unclear reasons.

Sabah’s chief officer earlier said Malaysia was willing to turn over Amalilio but the Philippine government should observe proper procedures under the Association of Southeast Asian Nation’s Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Acts 2002.

Scammer Filipino

Minerva Retanal of the NBI antifraud unit said Amalilio is a Filipino. “Based on all the documents he submitted to various agencies he is Filipino,” she said.

Retanal said that based on her unit’s investigation, Amalilio also violated the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

More than 11,000 victims of Amalilio have formally filed their complaints in the NBI, she said.—With reports from Michael Lim Ubac, Christine O. Avendaño and Nancy C. Carvajal

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  • joe__bloggs

    Money talks… and in this case, in RINGGIT, too.

  • Guest

    Prosecute governors, mayors and other local government officials we must. But let’s not forget the government regulators who failed to regulate. SEC, DTI, AMLC, DOJ and NBI all failed to act on early tip-offs from Ms. Lourdes Quisumbing of Pagadian City Chamber of Commerce (She has all the credibility of a former Dep Ed Secretary who served her country well during her time in office). The tip-off came as early as February 2012. PDI also came out with reports of similar tip-offs way before the pyramid scam grew so big assuming a life of its own. In their own investigations in aid of legislation, Rufus Rodriguez, Koko Pimental and Chiz Escudero also castigated the SEC, DTI, AMLC, DOJ and NBI for criminal negligence. The heads of the mentioned government regulatory and law enforcement agencies may be appointed by PNoy, but there should be no sacred cows.

    In the final analysis, there will always be criminals trying to game the system. The bigger danger always comes from government regulators who fail to regulate and law enforcers who fail to enforce the law. Remember, from Feb 2012 to Nov 2012 is close to a year. Nothing was done to stop the stoppable. Nothing was done to avoid the avoidable. Hence, what could go wrong did go wrong.

    • ApoLapullapu

      Remember?  The SEC failed to detect the scam that was the BW shares; to think that it was floated at the Stock Exchange.

      • disqus_EWrSdjV1nv

        kasabwat ang tatay nila cayetano jan. insider trading…

  • anu12345

    “Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the Philippines’ close ties with
    Malaysia would help the Department of Justice (DOJ) get Amalilio back.”

    Malaysia already proved that. . . NOT!

  • ewankosayo

    sino na kaya nakikinabang dun sa P12 billion…hmmmm…

  • Hannibal

    Firing Squad! Firing Squad! Firing Squad!

  • cong_lolong

    Nobody was defrauded; everybody was just too greedy.  It was not a scam; it was a gambling scheme, no different from a slot machine which promises a jackpot of millions of pesos.  The 15,000 individuals were not “investors”; they were gamblers.  They were not victims; they were losers.  A painful and costly lesson for them; a good one for their children. But Amalilio should go to jail; not for two years but for life!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/MJFXCRSCXRWPLL42QQKSINC3AQ Mamerto

      If., as you say., that
      “Nobody was defrauded” and “it was not a scam”…, then
      WHAT was the CRIME for Amalilio be put to jail..?

    • muddygoose

      In gambling, odds may be against you, but you actually have some chance of getting your money back and earning some.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MJFXCRSCXRWPLL42QQKSINC3AQ Mamerto

    Along this line….,

    Whatever happened to those “Insurance Companies” in their Educational & Memorial SCAMS..?

    Why hasn’t the Insurance Commissioner (or whoever was responsible) have safe-guards to protect the general public.

    Why weren’t the executives of these companies prosecuted for their anomalies/crimes..?

  • disqus_EWrSdjV1nv

    he is not going out of malaysia. hed rather pay them malaysians to protect him.

  • ApoLapullapu

    AMAN could not have succeeded if the victims were not too greedy as to believe the lure for high returns.  They should have realized that if there is such a business with very high returns on investment, the banks would be the first to invest in it.

  • speedstream2

    Given all the circumstances and developments surrounding this multi-billion peso scam, the prospects for recovering even just part of the loot are iffy at best. Still, hope springs eternal and hopefully there will be an upside for the scam victims. Meantime, while the return of the mastermind is being worked out, the book should be thrown at anybody who knowingly was party to the scam.

  • wawa2172

    Please list those politicians involved in Aman Futures…malapit na ang election at baka magoyo na namang na mga taon bayan. Learn grom the grapevine na ang mayor nang Dipolog City is an LP member. Dapat patalsikin ito nang LP or baka he is needed to bankroll the LP candidates in that city.

  • joshmale2004

    Something is wrong with the Malaysian court decision. Since he is a Filipino and holding a Philippine passport, the court should have added in its decision that after serving his jail sentence in Malaysia, he should be deported back to the Philippines and turn over to Philippine government. Why only jail sentence? Does this mean, after serving the sentence, he will just be released within Malaysia? If this is the case then he can go dark and avoid Philippine jail after serving his sentence. Our Government should seriously look into this matter. I can sense, Malaysia is trying to protect him actually with the jail sentence.

    • Simon Ward

      I agree. I think Malaysia could be protecting him. In fact, he may have even asked to be sentenced to jail. Maybe in the next year or two, we’ll hear that he died in jail and his body was disposed of without any photos being taken. 

  • Diepor

    He fooled so many people and made them give him their money, a true mastermind. They really believed in his gospel, it’s like the church but instead of heaven you think you will get money for believing what is not there.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YAB42FXZYNCU3ODZNRCDRDTGAY MORE HUMAN

    Philippine Passport is Fake, then his Malaysian Passport is Original.. so Aman is a Malaysian…hahahahhaha.. naisahan na naman ang mga bobong pinoy…hahahahahah… vovo talaga ang pinoy

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XY3GGHWDTCKXD3YI5WX2I4RRDY dodo

      dka pinoy????????
      ogag ka.

      • magiting78

        Hnd daw sya pinoy…bisaya sya hahaha…

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/HYCSJZQQM73RU4POSJKVPKZYJQ Johnny

       so BOBO ka bwahahahahaha..TANGA!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/chiangkai.dong Chiang Kai Dong

    The Philippine government must hire a top lawyer in Malaysia to pursue this guy!  

    I’ve seen in some of the pictures that the Philippino officials who will bring him back to your country dressed like people who are going to a PICNIC! 

    If you are dealing with a controversial case like this outside of your country your people must dress in a smart way (PROFESSIONAL) and send your high-ranking representatives with a direct line with your president.  I know when the guy was stopped Aquino was with the Malaysian president, you had missed lot of opportunities during the height of this incident.

    Call the MALAYSIAN AMBASSADOR in the Philippines and let him explain why they held the guy minutes before he was supposed to leave bound to your country!  The Philippines should question who authorized the transferred and who suddenly stopped it and for what valid reason?

    I bet that Amalilio is not the only Mastermind in this huge Scam, most probably it is the HIGH OFFICIAL in Sabah that is behind all of these manipulations!

    Malaysian Newspapers are tight-lipped in this incident when it is a huge fire in your country!  I bet that there’s something wrong with how your government is handling the situation. 

    Else, If everything failed, RE-CLAIM Sabah just to get Amalilio!

    • http://twitter.com/absurdword Jose Mateo S. Boza

      The point you made that alarms me the most is that Amalilio may indeed have a powerful backer in Malaysia, and that may prove to be the death of our case against him.

  • disqus_EWrSdjV1nv

    kill his family slowly. and send the angry filipinos in malaysia to terrorize them. bomb his jail.

  • ddano

    Naisahan naman ang mga pulis at dept of justice natin ( mga t@t@e t@e kasi) . Nagpa convict lang talaga itong si Amalilio sa Malysia para makaiwas sa kaso niya sa Pinas .

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VS5EYSP4FPOTVQCJZ24NRE6Z2M Edgardo Mendoza

    MATALINO TALAGA SI AMAN NAG PAKULONG SA MALAYSIA KASI SA PINAS PAPATAYIN SIYA PAG BABA NIYA NG EROPLANO! AMAN PARA TUMABA SIYA NASARAPAN SA DAMI NG PERA MALAYSIAN COURT LOVE AMAN CUTE AND SMART

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VS5EYSP4FPOTVQCJZ24NRE6Z2M Edgardo Mendoza

    MALAYSIAN COURT LOVE AMAN CUTE AND SMART!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5CJCI5UE2KPDAQUDIY7RVSOPOU Tiboy

    oi mora man ug pangolo nis mga walhon, ipadala sa malaysia ang Pinoy Special Forces arun todasin na cya.

  • regd

    Explain this to me: How would they know whether the passport is fake?

    • Simon Ward

      I don’t think it’s fake. It’s probably a genuine passport obtained by fraudulent means, i.e., the supporting documents were fake.

  • Olibo

    Of course this swindler Amalilio’s acceptance of guilt and conviction is an old trick to evade more serious offence and prosecution in the Philippines. It’s another justice delayed justice denied story. Poor PH, pitiful DOJ.

  • isellnuts

    The picture of Amalilio does not look like a typical pinoy. The fact that he was convicted of passport fraud (holding a fake Philippine passport) made him a malaysian citizen.

    Under international law a state is not obligated to hand its citizens to another state except there is an extradition treaty between these two states.

    Philippines has only extradition treaty with 10 other states. Malaysia is not one of the 10 states.

  • kismaytami

    Asa pa sa malaysia, eh ilang taon na nga nilang nilalandi yang mga terorista riyan sa Mindanao kaya hindi matapus-tapos ang gulo riyan. At isa pa yang Sabah na hindi naman talaga sa kanila.

  • boybakal

     “The government should not wait for Amalilio’s return but begin
    prosecution of mayors and governors involved,” Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello
    said.

    I support the move.
    Also, Kindly include the Security and Exchange Commission Officials.

  • http://twitter.com/barneygwapo Peter

    very wise amalilio.. very wise also for malaysian government to hold him by imprisonment. all of this is a play  by amalilio by which amalilio had won in the first place. very wise indeed. now the government of malaysia must be celebrating with the money that amalilio took from every poor  filipino. it is simply because malaysia want the money after all. 

  • bisdakis

    For sure only opposition officials will be prosecuted and not LP officials.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chiangkai.dong Chiang Kai Dong

    The Title of this Article should be “Malaysia Saves the PH’s No. 1 Fugitive!”

    If your DOJ can’t get Amalilio back the PH Media can do it!

    SENSATIONALIZE the issue and for sure when you involved the Malaysian government their officials will be pressured to shed light on this issue!

  • nakawan

    The Philippines can lay claim to the prosecution of this guy with the World Court in the Hague, or the ICCJ in Rome. 

  • We love Pnoy. Do as you please

    Is amalilio trying to look like an innocent Muslim? Shame on him for putting a mask in the name of Islamic faith. he is not putting respect to his religion. i have very good muslim friends. he giving them a bad name.

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