MANILA, Philippines – A government official said there is so far no evidence to support claims that local government officials invested their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) in the Aman Futures money scam.
Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Austere Panadero said on Monday, November 26 that the department’s investigation is still ongoing.
“So far walang basihan. Wala pa kaming nakikitang LGU (local government unit) na nag-invest diyan sa Aman,” he said.
The Aman pyramid scam is estimated to have duped about 15,000 people of P12 billion in Visayas and Mindanao.
Panadero emphasized that the investment of IRAs in any form is illegal and anyone found guilty of investing funds in Aman will be charged with malversation.
LGUs not officials
Panadero also clarified that the Department of the Interior and Local Government is investigating LGUs and not local officials, specifically all local governments in Region IX or the Zamboanga Peninsula.
This, despite complainants linking certain officials, like Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co and his wife to the scam, and despite admissions by some Mayors that have invested personal funds in Aman. The National Bureau of Investigation is convinced it has sufficient evidence to charge Co with graft and estafa.
Panadero said that they have not focused on certain individuals in the course of their investigation.
“Not yet anyway,” said Panadero. “One step at a time.”
On Sunday, November 17, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said President Benigno Aquino III has asked law enforcement agencies to expedite their investigation and to coordinate with officials in Malaysia, where the group’s founder Manuel Amalilio or Mohammad Suffian Saaid is said to have escaped to on November 14. – Rappler.com