P12-B Aman scam brains arrested in MalaysiaBy Christine O. Avendaño, Nancy Carvajal
Philippine Daily Inquirer
It was his fake Malaysian passport and identification card that did him in.
The man behind a P12-billion investment scam, Manuel Amalilio, founder of Aman Futures Philippines Group, was arrested on Tuesday by Malaysian immigration authorities in Kota Kinabalu for possession of a fraudulent passport and ID, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Wednesday.
De Lima, who learned of Amalilio’s arrest Tuesday night, told reporters that Amalilio was detained in an immigration office in Kota Kinabalu.
“Filipino authorities through the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur are now coordinating with Malaysian police for the immediate deportation of Mr. Amalilio,” De Lima said.
She said the objective of the government was “to be able to immediately take physical custody of Amalilio.”
Amalilio fled the country shortly after his investment scam in Mindanao and the Visayas unraveled in October last year, with authorities estimating he had duped some 15,000 people of their hard-earned money.
Amalilio’s officers in Aman have been arrested and like him are facing syndicated estafa cases in a Pagadian City Regional Trial Court.
On Wednesday, De Lima said Amalilio was “deportable” because he violated Malaysian laws by posing as a Malaysian national when he is a Filipino.
Asked about the circumstances behind Amalilio’s arrest, she said she had no other details other than what Malaysian information authorities told the Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
“The Malaysian police are aware that Amalilio had an outstanding warrant of arrest,” De Lima said.
A Pagadian City court issued a warrant of arrest against Amalilio and other executives of Aman Futures based on the syndicated estafa case filed by thousands of complainants in the National Bureau of Investigation. Syndicated estafa is a nonbailable offense.
Ismael Mapandi, one of the complainants against Amalilio, said Amalilio was in a motor vehicle when his path was blocked by the police, who acted on complaints by some Malaysian citizens whose relatives were victims of Aman.
“He was not alone and he did not resist arrest,” Mapandi said.
In a telephone interview, Mapandi said the Ranao Police District had contacted the Interpol unit in Malaysia and “is now coordinating with the Interpol in the Philippines for the turnover of Amalilio.”
De Lima said agents of the NBI would bring Amalilio to the Philippines.
Amalilio will be detained in the NBI once he is deported home, according to the justice secretary.
Virgilio Mendez, deputy director for regional operations of the NBI, said a team from the NBI would go to Malaysia today for the turnover of Amalilio to the Philippine government.
“He is a Filipino citizen and he should be deported,” Mendez said.
The NBI chief said the Aman founder would be brought to the nearest court in the country as soon as he arrives.
Amalilio and nine others were ordered arrested by Presiding Judge Dennis Vicoy of Pagadian City Regional Trial Court Branch 20 in connection with the scam.
Others accused who are already in government custody are Aman president Fernando Luna and his wife Nimfa Caballero-Luna; Aman incorporators Donna Coyme, Lelian Lim Gan, Wilanie Fuentes, Nazelle Rodriguez, Eduardo Lim and Lurix Lopez; and Aman employee Dhurwen Wenceslao.