Palace appeals to pyramid scam victims for sobriety
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang asked the victims of a P12-billion pyramid scam on Sunday, November 17 to let due process take its course amid reports that "criminal acts" have been committed against members and officers of the group behind the large-scale modus operandi.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte appealed to the victims to "not to take the law into their own hands," in a press briefing on Sunday, November 18.
"The authorities are moving quickly on this. Lahat po ay ginawaga ang kanilang makakayanan upang mabigyan ng hustisya ang mga nalokong investors," (We are doing everything we can to help the victims get justice)," she said.
Valte made the plea following reports that some victims of the scam - allegedly committed by trading firm Aman Futures Group - in Pagadian City have armed themselves.
Valte said President Benigno Aquino III has ordered the law enforcement agencies to expedite their investigation and to coordinate with officials in Malaysia, where the group's founder Manuel Amalilio or Mohammad Suffian Saaid is said to have escaped to on November 14.
Cebu City allowed Aman to operate?
Meanwhile, it was learned that the Cebu City government granted the group behind what is dubbed as the "biggest scam" in the country a business permit amid a warning from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The city treasury gave Aman Futures Group - a trading firm that allegedly duped 15,000 people in Visayas and Mindanao - a business permit on September 28.
SEC, however, has warned the public against the group's "fraudulent scheme" on August 23, though the regulator did not directly refer to Aman Futures Group. SEC issued a cease-and-desist order specifically against Aman Futures Group only on October 8.
Cebu City treasurer Emma Villarete said issuance of a temporary permit is part of the process. She said they can revoke it if the company did not meet their standers upon inspection.
At least 10 victims from Cebu have filed complaints against Aman Futures Group, which promised its investors a "double-your-money" scheme.
NBI-7 Supervising Agent Renan Oliva told Rappler they are waiting for the warrant of arrest from Pagadian City to be issued against two of the group's executives in Cebu.
Other victims in Pagadian City have filed cases of estate against Amalilio, who has allegedly fled Manila on November 14.
The Bureau of Immigration has issued a lookout order against 38 other officials of the group on November 15 upon the orders of the Department of Justice. - Rappler.com, with reports from Ryan Christopher J. Sorote