Aman Futures execs want to turn witness: DOJ

Posted at 11/23/2012 5:44 PM | Updated as of 11/23/2012 10:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Top officials of Aman Futures Group Phils. Inc. have sent feelers to the Department of Justice to become state witnesses in the investigation on the P12 billion pyramiding scam, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Friday.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed receiving the feelers but said the offers have yet to materialize. If true, she said their testimony could help the government’s investigation on the scam headed by Aman founder Manuel Amalilio.

Other members of the Aman board apart from Amalilo are Fernando Luna, Lelian Lim Gan, Eduard Lim, William Fuentes, Naezelle Rodriguez and Lurix Lopez.
 
De Lima said the DOJ is eyeing ex-Aman financial manager Donna Coyme as a possible witness for the prosecution. She said Coyme submitted a comprehensive affidavit that gives a comprehensive picture of the scam.

“We have yet to thoroughly assess her statement but I have already ordered the [National Bureau of Investigation] to secure her,” she revealed. Coyme was already in the custody of NBI headquarters in Manila yesterday.

The justice chief said local officials allegedly linked to the scam will undergo investigation. She said the DOJ and Commission on Audit will also look into allegations that some officials invested government funds in the scam.

Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co was among those who filed the initial complaint against Aman, claiming he too had lost his investment to the scam. But another complainant – Fire Officer Fabian Tapayan Jr. – accused him of receiving investments from the victims on behalf of the trading firm.

The special panel chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Edna Valenzuela is set to hold on Tuesday, Nov. 27, the first hearing for preliminary investigation n the six initial complaints for syndicated estafa against Amalilio at the DOJ.

Among the complainants in the preliminary investigation of DOJ is Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co, who claimed to be also a victim of Aman but was accused by another complainant – Fire Officer Fabian Tapayan Jr. – of receiving investments from the victims in behalf of the trading firm.

A total of 38 initial respondents were already summoned by the DOJ last Wednesday, when it received a seventh complaint filed by a total of 23 police and fire officers from Pagadian City who also lost millions in combined investments to Aman. Amalilio, however, had reportedly fled to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia.