Aman pyramid scam victim wants trial to be moved back to Pagadian court
A victim of the Aman pyramid scam urged the Supreme Court to return to the Pagadian City Regional Trial Court the syndicated estafa case against former Mayor Samuel Co and his wife, citing the high cost of traveling to Manila to attend the hearing.
“Ako ang naloko, ako ang biktima. Bakit dito sa Maynila ang kaso? Baon na kami sa utang ng pamilya ko. Pagpunta dito, halos manglimos ako sa mga kaibigan ko (I am the victim, the one duped. Why is the trial here in Manila? We’re deep in debt. I almost beg for money from my friends every time I need to come here),” Fabian Tapayan Jr. said in a press briefing in Quezon City.
Tapayan, fire officer 2 of the Pagadian Bureau of Fire Protection and formerly engaged in the jewelry business, lost P4 million that he invested in the Aman Futures Group.
“Naengganyo kami kasi si Mayor mismo nagsabi sa programa nya sa Punto por Punto na mag-invest sa Aman,” Tapayan said.
He added that witnesses for the prosecution, who were also victims of the Aman scam, hail from Pagadian City and do not have the means to travel to Manila to testify in court.
With a promise of high returns, the Aman investment scam has duped around 15,000 people from Mindanao and Visayas of some P12 billion. Its founder Manuel Amalilio fled to Malaysia before the investors’ complaints were made public in 2012.
“I’m asking the help of the Supreme Court, the Regional Trial Court, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and President Aquino, tulungan mo kaming mga biktima,” Tapayan said.
The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 14 has set a preliminary conference and pretrial hearing on May 18 and 19. The case was initially filed in the Pagadian RTC Branch 18 but the accused, fearing retribution from victims, petitioned the Supreme Court to transfer the case to Manila.
The complainant has filed a motion for reconsideration on the Supreme Court decision granting the transfer. Flavio Cordero Jr., Tapayan’s lawyer, said they also filed a motion to defer proceedings in the Manila court pending resolution of the Supreme Court petition.
Tapayan also urged the court to junk Co’s bail petition. Tapayan said he was worried about reports reaching Pagadian that Co was able to celebrate his birthday outside detention. Co is currently detained at the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Manila.
“Spouses Co must not be allowed to post bail because it will be a big slap to the huge number of people who had been defrauded of their hard-earned money by the personalities behind the Aman scam,” Tapayan said in a statement.
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