Pagadian mayor not in hiding - lawyer

Posted at 04/13/2013 5:48 PM | Updated as of 04/15/2013 10:50 AM

MANILA – The camp of Pagadian Mayor Samuel Co denied on Saturday that the mayor has gone into hiding.

One of Co’s lawyer’s, Atty. Trixie Angeles, said they mayor is still in the country and has not left Pagadian.

“Is he missing? Of course not, he’s just in Pagadian City and we don’t know why the NBI cannot find him,” Angeles told ANC’s “Top Story.”

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is searching for Co after a regional trial court in Iligan City issued an arrest warrant for a syndicated estafa case in connection with the Aman Futures investment scam.

“I assure you that Mayor Co is in the country. There’s no reason to even consider him in hiding,” said Angeles.

She questioned the validity of the arrest warrant issued against Co, saying they were not given a notice that there motion of reconsideration had been denied.

“The warrant was issued despite the fact that we had no notice of the order and therefore that notice has not yet become final, therefore the arrest warrant is of dubious validity,” said Angeles.

“The warrant of arrest is not valid given that the order of the court on our motion has not attained any measure of finality. We were never given any notice,” she added.

Angeles also suspects that the Co’s arrest is politically-motivated.

“This seems to be happening on a large scale and is very much our concern right now. There seems to be some hand railroading these proceedings against the mayor. We’d also like to point out that in view of the fact that other co-accused like Mrs. Amalilio has not been issued a warrant of arrest, we see that this entire matter is already political in nature,” she said.

Co is running for a congressional seat in Zamboanga del Sur under the Liberal Party.

His arrest warrant stems from the complaint of alleged Aman Futures investor Julius Labunog who claims that his group was duped by Co and the firm's officers for a combined amount of P29.63 million.

Aman Futures is implicated in a P12 billion pyramiding scam described by the government as the largest Ponzi scheme, to date, in the country.