MANILA - Jay Peñaflor, the alleged mastermind of a P300 million investment scam, attended the preliminary investigation for one of the cases of estafa filed against him and filed his affidavit on Friday.

"The fact that he hasn't flown, and the fact he has faced his accusers seems to indicate that he thinks he has some defenses against the complaints," said Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) commissioner Luis Amatong.

Peñaflor was actually arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) following an entrapment operation, but was ordered released pending further investigation.

Amatong wants justice to be served, which is why the SEC is appealing to all complainants to file or refile their complaints against Peñaflor with the commission.

Amatong added that unlike justice department prosecutors who will try to establish estafa, the SEC will be looking to establish violations of the Securities Regulation Code, and whether or not Peñaflor had help from licensed brokers or traders.

"You would have to prove that deceit was involved, and there was loss on the part of the victim...In the case of syndicated estafa, you'd have to prove that this happened to three or more people," Amatong said.

"In the case of violations under the Securities Regulation Code, it is much simpler, whether or not he was selling securities to people, whether or not he was representing himself as somebody who was managing funds," he added.

While the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) said its findings show Peñaflor did not have assistance from brokers, it does say that Peñaflor misrepresented brokers without their knowledge, and sold shares without a license.

"Whether he took advantage of certain personal relationships, certain familiarity that has over the years...It is very clear that the acts that are being complained of are actually either his personal activities for which the accountability and liability is actually personal. And we want to establish...were there cooperations that paved the way for this fraud to have been perpetrated?" said Roel Refran, chief operating officer at PSE.

Peñaflor also posted on social media lists of securities he claimed he could obtain for interested parties.
Amatong isn't making any promises though, but said their findings could only serve to strengthen the Department of Justice's (DOJ) position as well.

"We would like to encourage people who believe they have been victimized to even just refile whatever they've filed with the NBI, with the SEC as well so that the SEC may support the efforts of the NBI, the PSE, and the DOJ," said Amatong.

As it is, the PSE and SEC still cannot say how long the legal process will take. It's probably best victims heed the SEC's call.