MANILA - The president of controversial firm Aman Futures Group, Fernando Luna, and his wife, Nimfa, have asked the Supreme Court (SC) to transfer the venue of the trial of the syndicated estafa case against them in connection with the firm's alleged P12-billion pyramiding scam.
In a 12-page petition for change of venue filed on Feb. 4, the couple said the trial should be transferred from Pagadian City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 20 to any branch of the Manila RTC due to threats to their lives.
"[T]here is imminent danger against the lives and limbs of all accused, specifically petitioners Fernando R. Luna and Nimfa C. Luna. Petitioner Fernando R. Luna, who was manipulated by accused Manuel K. Amalilio, to become the president of the corporations that operated the investment business in the country has been the primary target of the investors and sub-investors," the petition read.
The petition told the high court that the house of Fernando Luna's parents were torched by disgruntled investors, while Fernando's and Nimfa Luna's house was looted. It also cited the abduction and killing of investor Alvin Zainal allegedly by his sub-investors.
The Lunas also claimed having received reports of plans to liquidate them and abduct their children.
"There are reports, monitored by government operatives, that some investors and sub-investors are taking chances to liquidate the Luna couple or to kidnap their children for ransom," the petition read.
The couple also said Amalilio's conviction and his subsequent 2-year jail term meted by a Malaysian court enraged thousands of Aman Futures' investors in Mindanao.
"There are reports that of more than the 15,000 investors, a few had already taken suicide, several families had already been broken; hundreds had been hospitalized... and thousands are suffering [from] depression," the petition read.
The Lunas also claimed that even the detention facility in Pagadian City will not keep them safe since some prisoners there are relatives of disgruntled investors.
The Lunas are currently detained at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters in Manila along with their co-accused. They have yet to be arraigned.