5 Aman Futures officials surrender to NBI

Posted at 11/26/12 5:52 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Five members of the Board of Directors of embattled firm Aman Futures Group Philippines, Inc. surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Sunday and expressed willingness to cooperate in the ongoing probe into the so-called P12-billion investment scam.

In a news conference, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima identified them as Leila Lim Gan, Edmund G. Lim, Wilanie Fuentes, Nazelle Rodriguez, and Lurix Lopez.

The 5, assisted by counsel, had executed sworn statements, and will appear on Tuesday's preliminary investigation hearing into syndicated estafa charges at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

NBI Deputy Director for Regional Services Virgilio Mendez, however, stressed that the 5 are not yet off the hook and should answer the charges against them. Mendez added that they surrendered for fear of their own safety.

De Lima said that while there is no request from the group, for now, to turn state witness, the likelihood for them to become witnesses of the prosecution is still there.

"Wala pa silang sinasabi ngayon [that they want] to be considered as state witness. They asked only for protective custody; we leave it to the [special] panel who among them can be utilized as state witness," she said.

De Lima said the information being shared by the group is vital in identifying not only the flow of investments in Aman Futures but also the assets of the firm.

The justice chief stressed that this is important in determining how the victims will be paid their lost investments.

One of the 5, who bared having spoken recently to Aman Futures founder Malaysian Mohammad Suffian Saaid, also known as Manuel Amalilio, reportedly divulged that Amalilio is still in Kota Kinabalu.

Another board member, Nonoy Luna, has yet to surface.