Complaints Of Scam Victims In Kota Kinabalu Still Being Addressed
By Leonard D. Postrado
MANILA, Philippines — It may take a while before businessman Manuel Amalilio, head of the controversial Aman Futures Group Phils. Inc. behind the P12-billion investment scam that duped some 15,000 people in Visayas and Mindanao, is finally deported from Malaysia.
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Nonnatus Caesar Rojas yesterday said that Malaysian authorities are still addressing the complaints of scam victims in Kota Kinabalu against Amalilio, which he said was the primary reason the Aman Group owner was barred from returning to the country last Friday.
Rojas, however, did not give any specifics on the complaint filed by Malaysian victims against Amalilio.
“Ang sabi meron daw mga local complainants sa Kota Kinabalu, so kailangan muna nila [Malaysian authorities] na asikasuhin yun. I think they are going to evaluate ‘yung mga complaints na yun na nagsulputan din bigla,” the NBI director told the Manila Bulletin.
When asked if the Philippine government would be able to bring the infamous businessman back in the country, Rojas admitted that “Amalilio might not be brought to the country anytime soon.”
“Hindi natin alam kung gaano katagal ang proseso sa Malaysia. So right now, we are in a wait-and-see mode as our government talks with their [Malaysian] government,” he said.
Last Sunday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed intervention from Malaysian officials caused setback in the return to the country of Amalilio.
“His (Amalilio’s) flight was blocked by a Malaysian police commissioner on orders from ‘higher ups.’ As to exactly who are the ‘higher ups’ we still don’t know,” she has bared.
De Lima, however, said the four-man team from NBI tasked to fetch Amalilio last Friday night was not given a clear, acceptable reason for the “last-minute” intervention on what should have been a smooth deportation of the wanted businessman.
“We are still trying to verify the reason so we can determine the next step or move to ensure that we will get Mr. Amalilio,” she vowed.
For this purpose, she said her office might consider officially requesting for clarification from the Malaysian government about the incident.
Reports had it that Amalilio’s deportation was blocked due to “incomplete documents” after it was found out that he is also a Malaysian.
De Lima said the NBI team presented documents proving the Aman head is a Filipino due for deportation to the country after a Pagadian City regional trial court ordered his arrest earlier this month to face two initial cases of syndicated estafa.
She admitted the cancellation came as a surprise since Philippine embassy officials, including the police attaché, assured there was “no more problem” in Amalilio’s deportation until about 10 minutes before the flight when the Malaysian policemen arrived and took him into custody.
Pagadian City Regional Trial Court Branch 20 Judge Dennis Vicoy ordered last Jan. 11 the arrest of Amalilio and other accused in the two initial syndicated estafa cases filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier this month.
The court issued the order after reviewing the findings in the earlier preliminary investigation conducted by the DOJ.
Apart from Amalilio, also ordered arrested were Aman president Fernando Luna and his wife Nimfa; the five board members who had earlier cooperated with the probe of the NBI – Leila Lim Gan, Eduard Lim, Willanie Fuentes, Naezelle Rodriguez, and Lurix Lopez; and two other officers, Dhurwen Wenceslao and Dona Coyme.
All of them are now in NBI custody.