GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 21 Nov) – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has launched an investigation over the reported operations in nearby South Cotabato province of pyramiding investment firm Aman Futures Group Philippines, Inc.
Timmy Rejano, supervising agent of the NBI Region 12, said Wednesday they received a directive from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to specifically look into the company’s activities in T’boli town in South Cotabato in the past several months.
He said the Aman Group, which reportedly amassed around P12 billion in Ponzi-type investments from 15,000 people in Visayas and Mindanao, has allegedly victimized 400 people in T’boli through a local conduit.
“We’re proceeding to T’boli today (Wednesday) to interview the victims and gather the necessary evidences for the filing of charges against those behind the illegal activity,” he said in a radio interview.
Rejano said their investigation will focus on determining how Aman Group started its operations in the area, identity its local contacts or representatives and establish the extent of its activities.
Citing initial complaints received by NBI-12 against the Aman Group, he said its operations were allegedly facilitated by local residents identified as couple Pastor Rolando and Daisy Lilio.
He said some residents were reportedly lured to invest as much as P200,000 to the company due to the huge interest paybacks that it promised.
“Because of that, many of the investors have become bankrupt and could not even afford to go to our office to file their complaints because of their sorry state,” the official said.
Aside from getting statements from the victims, Rejano said they will summon the Lilio couple to answer the complaints against them.
He said they are also planning to meet with local officials of T’boli to help shed more light on the matter and in the filing of charges against those involved in the Ponzi scheme.
Rejano said all charges in connection with the case will be filed at the DOJ in Manila and not at the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office.
Several top officials of the Aman Group led by its fugitive founder Manuel Amalilio, who has reportedly fled to Malaysia, are presently facing charges of syndicated estafa based on the initial complaints filed by some of their victims in Pagadian.
Justice Secretary Leila Delima ordered last week the convening of a special panel that will handle the complaints and the filing of charges against the company and its leaders.
“This case is a top priority based on the instructions we received from Secretary Delima,” Rejano said.
Meantime, T’boli Mayor Ernesto Manuel said he was not aware of Aman Group’s operations in his area and its illegal investment scheme.
But he immediately asked the municipal council to conduct a legislative inquiry over the illegal activity and the supposed involvement of council employee Daisy Lilio on the matter.
The mayor said his office will determine whether there are department heads and other officials of the municipal government that were victimized by the pyramiding investment scheme. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)