by Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News | 11/15/2012 4:15 PM
TAGAYTAY - President Aquino vowed justice for the victims of the pyramiding scam involving Aman Futures, saying efforts are ongoing to hunt down and build a case against the perpetrators.
Speaking to reporters, Aquino said the Philippines may invoke the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) that exists within the ASEAN to cause the repatriation of Aman Futures founder Manuel Amalilio who has reportedly fled to Malaysia. The Philippines has no extradition treaty with Malaysia.
The National Bureau of Investigation is now coordinating with the Malaysian Embassy, according to Aquino.
But at the same time, Aquino pointed out that the government had started to move against the pyramid scam and warned investors early on but was rebuffed.
The President said the DTI had warned investors as early as July, and the SEC in August, against the pyramid scheme. He said investors rebuffed NBI investigators who had began probing on Aman Futures.
"Noong nag-umpisa ang NBI, pinuntahan daw sila nitong mga investors at sinabing killjoy sila, 'Bakit n'yo naman pinahihinto 'tong parang malaking pagkakataon kumita nang mabilisan?' Gusto ko lang pagdiinan na talaga namang ginawa ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno, bago pa lumaki ang problema dito, na-warningan na ang ating mga kababayan," Aquino said.
"Hindi ho tayo titigil, kailangan ho may hustiya pero sa dulo po nito, kailangan rin natin ang pakikiisa ng ating mga kababayan. 'Yung mga tumutupad ng kanilang tungkulin na ma-prevent nga 'yung ganitong scam, sana tinutulugan po imbes na pinahihirapan n'yo sa trabaho. Ganunpaman din ho, kailangan din natin madala sa bars of justice itong mga taong 'to. Hinahahanap natin ang lahat ng involved. Kailangan natin dumaan sa proseso."
Aquino lamented that had investors cooperated as early as July, authorities would have been able to build a case early on and may have arrested the perpetrators.
"Sayang e. Sana noong July e, nahuli na natin lahat ng mga tao. Pero 'yun nga, nahirapan mag-prosper 'yung kaso. Dahil [in the] absence [of] nung witnesses, 'yung magbibigay ng paper trail, 'yung magbibigay ng salaysay para maging matibay ang kaso."
Aquino declined to comment when asked if Pagadian Mayor Samuel Co will also be held liable for issuing the permits for Aman Futures to operate. Aquino said no direct evidence has been seen so far on Co's possible liability.
"Sa ngayon, assertion po 'yan, allegation. I'm not ready to comment dahil ongoing 'yung other facets of the investigation, amongst them 'yung issue sa allegedly involving the LGUs. So wala pa tayong nakitang diretsuhang ebidensya tungkol doon. Pero maliwanag kung sino ang nagpatakbo," he said.