MANILA (2nd UPDATE) – The founder of Aman Futures, Manuel Amalilio, has been sentenced to two years in prison in Malaysia, according to Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Ed Malaya.
A report from Malaysia’s The Star on Tuesday also said Amalilio, who is known in Malaysia as Mohammad Kamal Sa’ad, pleaded guilty to charges of holding a fake Philippine passport.
Prosecuting officer Insp. Azwal Azman said Amalilio was found to be in possession of the Philippine passport as he was about to leave the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) on January 25.
Investigation by Malaysian police showed that Amalilio had fraudulently obtained the passport.
A MyKad identity card with his name was also found in his possession.
The violation provides a fine of up to RM10,000 or jail terms of up to five years or both.
The report said Amalilio was charged at a hospital in Malaysia, where he is being treated for a liver ailment.
Amalilio, who is wanted in the Philippines, was turned over to the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation and was set to return to Manila, but his deportation was stopped at the last minute.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said proper procedures under ASEAN's Mutual Assitance in Criminal Matters Act 2002 have to be complied with before they can turn him over to Philippine authorities.
Meantime, a victim of the Aman Futures investment scam expressed dismay after hearing news of Amalilio's 2-year jail sentence in Malaysia.
"Dismayado po kaming lahat ng investors sa buong Pagadian City pati sa Zamboanga del Sur," Pagadian resident Fabian Tapayan Jr. said.
Tapayan told ABS-CBN News that his family and friends invested almost P14 million in Aman Futures before they realized it was a scam.
He said that nothing can be done by Amalilio to ease their loss.
"Hard-earned money iyun eh. Talagang kulang pa kung kakainin ang buong katawan ni Amalilio," he said.
He also speculated that Amalilio's detention in Malaysia was done to avoid his return to the Philippines, where he will face criminal cases in connection with the scam.
"Baka nabigyan ni Amalilio yun yung mga relatives niya dun para hindi siya madala dito sa Pilipinas," Tapayan alleged.
He urged the government to do its best to ensure that Amalilio returns to the country so that justice for Aman victims can be served.