MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Justice ordered the filing of syndicated estafa case against Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co and several others including Aman Futures founder Manuel Amalilio in connection with one of the country’s biggest pyramiding scheme.
Amalilio’s wife Abigail Pendulas, Aman Futures executives Fernando Luna, Lelian Lim Gan, Eduard Lim, Wilanie Fuentes, Naezelle Rodriguez and Lurix Lopez are also facing syndicated estafa.
The case stemmed from the complaint filed by Julius Labunog who alleged that his group was defrauded of P29.63 million.
Based on the resolution, the DOJ panel said the respondents were fully aware that Aman futures was unable to secure the proper authorization from the Securities and Exchange Commission to engage in commodity futures trading, management of funds, or investments of any other kind.
The DOJ also noted that Co awarded Aman Futures with a temporary business permit even before the firm submitted all the documentary requirements needed by the local govt. The DOJ also ruled that Aman, in fact, never completed the submission of all documents it had promised to submit, including the secondary license it never obtained from the SEC.
“The positive assertion of complainant cannot overcome mere denial by respondent Co in light of the damage caused by the Aman Futures group. Co and Aman Futures Trading entered into an agreement whereby each investment in Aman will be taxed by the City of Pagadian at 4% making it appear to the public that Aman was a legitimate business,” the panel said.
Regarding Co, the panel said his act of entering into an agreement with Aman Futures to tax each investment at 4% was merely intended to make it appear that the firm’s transactions were legitimate and that Aman Futures was engaged in legitimate business.
The DOJ said that because of the acts of the mayor, investors relied on his representations on behalf of Aman Futures and led them to believe that the firm’s business was legitimate.