PHNOM PENH, Cambodia––President Benigno Aquino III said Malaysian authorities have agreed to cooperate with the Philippines in the capture of members of a syndicate behind the Aman Futures scam that victimized thousands of people including local officials in the Visayas and Mindanao.
“The ambassador of Malaysia to the Philippines said they will assist us. We don’t have issues with Malaysia as far as helping us catch the criminals,” the President told Philippine journalists at the Sofitel Hotel here.
Aquino added that he was still waiting for the result of a Department of Justice investigation into reports that many local government units were victimized by the scam.
He said the government was not remiss in its duty to issue sufficient warnings to the public even before the scam was discovered.
Aquino cited warnings issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission on its website as early as July, and by the Department of Trade and Industry in August.
Asked how the government could protect the public from similar scams, the President said his administration would continue to educate and warn people about the risks of investing in financial schemes that offer huge immediate returns without specifics on how the wealth is to be created.
“If somebody offers you a return of 30 percent per week, aren’t you supposed to wonder: What sort of business does he have that can earn more than 30 percent in a week to pay your interest on top of his own earnings?” Aquino said.
The National Bureau of Investigation said the Malaysian police are now looking for Manuel Amalilio, the alleged brains behind the Aman Futures investment scam who is reportedly hiding in Kota Kinabalu in the east Malaysian state of Sabah.
The Philippine Embassy in Malaysia said it will work with the Malaysian authorities to bring Amalilio back to the Philippines through international cooperation mechanisms. The multibillion-peso scam is believed to have duped some 15,000 investors out of around P12 billion in the Visayas and Mindanao.