MANILA, Philippines - A local official implicated in the P12-billion investment scam that has victimized at least 15,000 people in the Visayas and Mindanao has admitted that he tried to help Aman Futures Group Phils. Inc.
Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co, who is now facing charges for syndicated estafa, said in an affidavit filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) that he asked for several documents from Aman board member Fernando Luna to "legalize" the company's operations.
Aman Futures head Manuel Amalilio also visited Co at the city hall in July to talk business, the mayor added.
Co claimed that Amalilio showed Aman's certificate of incorporation from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“If only to protect the investing public of their considerable investments, during the interim of the submission of the required secondary permit, the Permits and Licensing Division recommended for the issuance of a temporary permit valid only for 60 days,” Co said.
In his affidavit, Co said he personally invested around P6.4 million into Aman, with interest rates of 58% and 60% after 17 days.
His Aman investments, including money from friends and family, reached P42 million until October, according to the affidavit.
Co later filed a complaint against Aman after the company's 2 checks amounting to P5 million each that were issued to him bounced because of lack of funds.
A National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) probe, however, showed that Co and his wife Pricilla Ann were not just ordinary investors of Aman.
The NBI investigation indicated that the mayor and his wife helped Aman get money from other people.
Businessman Samsodin Ala, fire officer Fabian Tapayan Jr. and government employee Norolhaya Taha filed complaints against Co and his wife on November 28.
Tapayan accused Co of personally receiving money from Aman's victims.
The mayor also distributed Aman checks to investors, according to Tapayan and former Aman financial manager Ma. Donna Coyme.
Zaalica Adiong also filed a separate complaint against Co and City Treasurer Flornina Gerona on December 4.
The DOJ is currently investigating 15 sets of complaints against Aman.