Amalilio case takes backseat to Sabah conflict

Manuel Amalilio: Assets probe. Contributed photo

MANILA, Philippines-The Philippine government has put on hold its talks with Malaysia over its bid to have Manuel Amalilio, the man allegedly behind a P12-billion Ponzi scam, extradited due to the ongoing conflict in Sabah.

 

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday admitted that the conflict in Sabah, which ensued after followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III landed in what they claimed was their homeland, had affected the government’s bid to seek the immediate extradition of Amalilio.

 

Despite the setback, the Department of Justice (DOJ) started Monday the process of prosecuting Amalilio, his agents and co-conspirators in the country.

 

The DOJ filed a syndicated estafa complaint against Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co in the Iligan City Regional Trial Court, accusing the mayor of acting as an “agent” for Amalilio’s Aman Futures Group Philippines.

 

Also charged were 12 others, including Amalilio and his wife, Abigail Pendulas.

 

Amalilio, who fled to Malaysia after his investment scam unraveled, is currently serving a two-year sentence in Kota Kinabalu after he was convicted by a Malaysian court for possessing a fake Philippine passport.

 

The Philippine court case against Amalilio et al. was filed on the recommendation of the special panel of prosecutors at the DOJ, which found probable cause to indict the 12 respondents.

 

In its Feb. 26 resolution, a special DOJ panel recommended the filing of sydicated estafa charges against Co, Amalilio, Pendulas as well as Aman’s directors Fernando Luna, Leila Lim Gan, Eduard Lim, Wilanie Fuentes, Naezelle Rodriguez and Lurix Lopez, and investors Jason de los Reyes, Jerome Sanchez and Oliver Dequito.

 

4-percent tax on investments

 

The DOJ panel indicted Co after the mayor was found to have entered into an agreement with Aman wherein Pagadian City would impose a four-percent tax on every investment made in the company.

 

The panel said that because of this agreement, the complainants were made to believe that Aman was a legitimate business and decided to invest in the company.

 

“This is one of the important and telling circumstances which led the panel to believe that by all indications, Mayor Co was not only an investor but acted as an agent,” De Lima told reporters.

 

The DOJ panel also cited the affidavit of Gan, an Aman board member, who said the company had issued a certification on Aug. 25, 2012, declaring Co as an “authorized agent of Aman in online futures trading.”

 

“That respondent Co, using his public office, offered C3, a public building owned by the city government of Pagadian, for rent in favor of Aman is a clear indication that respondent Co is not merely an investor, as he claims,” the DOJ panel said.

 

De Lima said she was hoping arrest warrants would be issued soon by the court as she noted that syndicated estafa was a nonbailable offense.

 

The case was based on the complaint filed by investor Julius Labunog on behalf of four others who had invested a total of P29.633 million in Aman between August and September 2010.

 

Amalilio’s wife, Pendulas, was also indicted because the company had “manifested and represented to the general public that [she] had authority to transact and/or talk to unpaid investors after news broke that Aman was having problems.”

 

Relied on representations

 

The DOJ panel also said the complainants had relied on the representations made by Pendulas and, “on the basis of this reliance, complainants were falsely appeased, to their damage and prejudice.”

 

The panel said that while all the respondents had denied knowing the complainants, it noted that “there is no denying that the acts of its agents benefited them, having attracted investors.”

 

Meanwhile, De Lima said that upon consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs, she had deferred indefinitely the trip to Kuala Lumpur by a team of DOJ prosecutors and lawyers who were set to leave Tuesday to work for the immediate extradition of Amalilio.

 

“I don’t think we have the right environment or atmosphere to be talking to our counterparts,” De Lima told reporters, adding that Malaysia for one was “preoccupied” with the conflict in Sabah and it would be “pointless” to have discussions at this time.

 

She made it clear that they had not yet talked to Malaysian officials about this decision and expected the DFA to immediately inform them.

 

“Prudence dictates that this is not the right atmosphere or moment to sit down with Malaysian officials to talk about Amalilio,” De Lima said, noting that it would be “uncomfortable” to take up this matter given the situation in Sabah.

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  • $18209031

    For all we know they are moving him farther west to West Malaya for safety.  Goodbye na ang posibilidad  kung ma prosecute pa itong kriminal.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZWTTKJTI57YO7TZBJC66GA2OLU dennis

    Sa tutoo lang,dapat sa Pilipinas siya masintensiyahan for possessing “FAKE” Philippine passport kasi falsification of OUR DOCUMENT and NOT MALAYSIAN PASSPORT! Meron ba silang nakasulat sa kanilang batas(article) about fake Philippine Passport?

    • ApoLapullapu

      This yarn about a fake Philippine passport is just a means to protect Amalillo from Philippine Courts. Actually, Amalillio is an asset to Malaysia because he swindles money overseas and come home with the loot.

    • http://rltjs.wordpress.com/ Rod

      Iyan ang flaw ng “dual citizenship”. Parang ka pumupusta sa Dedol. Alam mo yon? Yong 3 takip ng bote, hulaan mo kung saan ang may laman? Hindi mo mahuli yon kasi 3 mismo walang laman. Kung gusto niya na manalo ka, ang pinili mo doon niya ilagay ang laman. :-)

      A Filipino turns out to be a Malaysian. Sa ibang sitwasyon, katulad sa Sabah, ang isang Malaysian puede maging Filipino.

  • notmeitsthedog

    Buti pa Malaysia, alam nila kung fake ang Philippine passport, bakit officials natin hindi alam? May nagiimbistiga kaya kung saan niya pinagawa iyan?Biro mo, hanggang DOJ, kala pinoy iyan. hoy NBI, gising!

  • http://www.facebook.com/babinski.tero Babinski R Tero

    Sa madaling salita, abnormal ang mga Pinoy at tanga. See? sa ibang bansa, pinaganda nila ang mga armas nila pang digma at ito ay pina ka importante sa lahat para hindi tayo ma iyot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/babinski.tero Babinski R Tero

    Iniyot na tayo ng iniyot sa china at malaysia. ano paba ang susunod abnoy na panut?

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/WC5IJSKXTZLNM3AV3VGPMM4O7Y ero

      Try to become a President of the republic if u wish …….. at sabihan ka na ikaw ay my sinto sinto at ano pa ano kaya ang maramdaman mo ……

  • ApoLapullapu

    Why should Malaysia extradite Amalillo when he spent there all that he swindled from the Philippines?

  • Javaman

    Dapat bittayin yan si Kiram lll ginawa niyang hopeless na mabalik si Amalilio dahil lang sa pera na gusto nila. Pattayin lahat ang mga kiram.

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