DAVOS, Switzerland – President Benigno Aquino III expressed confidence here Friday night that suspected investment scammer Manuel Amalilio would soon be repatriated to the Philippines to face trial and then sent to jail for ripping off many small investors.
Speaking to visiting Philippine media on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum annual meeting here, Aquino also appealed to the public to guard against investment opportunities that are too good to be true. He said that the Department of Trade and Industry and Securities and Exchange Commission did not lack in warning the public long before more people were cajoled into putting hard-earned money into Amalilio’s Pasay-based trading firm Aman Futures Group Phils. Inc.
Based on earlier reports, the “double-your-money” scam perpetrated by Aman Futures Group Phils. Inc. was estimated to have siphoned off P12 billion, especially from low-income investors in Pagadian City and other parts of the Visayas and Mindanao.
Amalilio is a Filipino of Malaysian descent, whose alleged scheme was to solicit investments or money placements, promising to return the entire sum in the form of post-dated checks plus investment profit raging from 15 to 30 percent to as high as 40 percent, based on Securities and Exchange Commission documents.
Aquino said the National Bureau of Investigation had gone to Malaysia to repatriate Amalilio but “some technical issues” cropped out. The President said he was still waiting for the official report on these technical issues that aborted the deportation from Malaysia. Police in Kota Kinabalu stopped Amalilio’s deportation to the Philippines.
“But we expect him to be brought back to the Philippines and to face trial in the Philippines —and with the evidence that’s presented — to be convicted, sent to jail, and that will serve, hopefully, as a deterrent to others who will embark on this,” Aquino said.
“Hindi ba, parang, kung walang nakukulong, kikita ng bilyong-bilyong ganyan.(If no one goes to jail, billions more will be made in scams like that),” he said.
The President reminded Filipinos not to fall prey to investments promising outrageous returns.
“When I was young I was taught that if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t,” Mr. Aquino said.
Asked what the government was doing about these things, Mr. Aquino cited repeated and continuing warnings from the DTI and SEC. But he said the government won’t stop efforts to boost financial literacy.
“If you’re promised large returns, shouldn’t you ask, where will they get the money to pay for that and what business they are in that’s so profitable that they can pay such high interest?” Aquino said.
In October last year, the SEC uncovered four “grave” violations of the Securities Regulation Code by Aman Futures in this case: non-registration of securities sold as investment contracts; non-registration as broker or dealer but acting as such; engaging in commodity futures contracts despite a prohibition by the SEC; and, engaging in activities that are “off tangent” with the company’s primary purpose as a general trading company.