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Wife of alleged investment scam mastermind arrested

Abigail Pendulas

Abigail Pendulas, wife of pyramid scam suspect Manuel Amalilio. PHOTO BY TONETTE T. OREJAS/INQUIRER Central Luzon

MANILA, Philippines—Not even a nose job could make her elude the long arm of the law.

Abigail Pendulas, the wife and co-accused of alleged investment scam mastermind Manuel Amalilio, was arrested Friday in Pampanga,‎ Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, ‎Central Luzon regional police chief, said Tuesday.

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“(Pendulas‎) managed to change her personal outlook, including artificial noselift,”‎ Petrasanta, ‎ said in a text message to reporters.

Pendulas refused to tell investigators her role in the scam, Petrasanta said.

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In an exclusive interview with the Inquirer, Pendulas confirmed she is Amalilio’s wife.

Pendulas said the police treated her well while in detention.

“We are after her well-being now,” her lawyer, Rosabel Cui, told the Inquirer.

Cui declined to comment, however, on the syndicated estafa case.

Caught in an upscale bar

Police caught Pendulas with a female companion identified as May Leechelle Ohales inside Partyplace, an upscale bar, at 11 p.m. on Friday by agents of the regional police’s intelligence division led by Chief Insp. Melvin Montant in Dolores, San Fernando City.

Pendulas, who was using the alias Azziah De Guzman, was among those charged with‎ syndicated estafa in connection with one of the country’s biggest pyramiding scheme.

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The victims include politicians, policemen and soldiers, government employees, market vendors, farmers, drivers and overseas Filipino workers.

Almost a year

Pendulas photos

Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, Central Luzon regional police director, holding IDs and photocopied photographs of Pendulas. PHOTO BY TONETTE T. OREJAS/INQUIRER Central Luzon

Petrasanta said intelligence operatives had taken almost a year to find Pendulas since she was reported to be hiding in Central Luzon because she underwent a “nose lift” that radically altered her facial features.

“Her eyes and the shape of her face helped us confirm her true identity,” he told reporters.

Petrasanta said Pendulas was arrested on the strength of an arrest warrant issued by Judge Alberto Quinto of the Regional Trial Court Branch 1 in Iligan City. She will not be allowed to post bail because syndicated estafa is a non-bailable offense.

Petrasanta said Pendulas faces another case for using a fake identity. She used the name Azziah Concillado de Guzman in her postal and tax identification cards. She wrote “dive master” as an occupation and Greenville in the City of San Fernando as her address in those documents.

Native of Zamboanga City

Pendulas is a native of Olotanga, Zamboanga City. She last traveled to Malaysia on March 19 to April 2, 2013, according to a passport bearing her real name.

“Her arrest would help the police put all conspirators behind bars,” Petrasanta said.

He said there was no information that Aman Futures ran a pyramid scheme in any province in Central Luzon.

He said the police had failed to establish if Amalilio is a native of Tarlac or has relatives there.

Her husband, Amalilio, who fled the country shortly after his P12-billion investment scam in Mindanao and the Visayas unraveled in October 2012, was arrested in Malaysia last year and is now serving a two-year sentence for possession of a fake Philippine passport. Authorities estimated the couple, through Aman Futures Group Philippines Inc., had duped some 15,000 people of their hard-earned money.

Aside from the couple, also charged with syndicated estafa were Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co, and Aman Futures executives Fernando Luna, Lelian Lim Gan, Eduard Lim, Wilanie Fuentes, Naezelle Rodriguez and Lurix Lopez.

The arrest warrant served on Pendulas was issued by Lanao del Norte‎ Regional Trial Court Judge Alberto Quinto.

Pendulas will be temporarily detained at Camp Olivas ‎in Pampanga pending the turnover of her arrest warrant to the court of origin.

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TAGS: Abigail Pendulas, Aman Futures Group Philippines, Manuel Amalilio, Scam, syndicated estafa
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