Ex-Pagadian City mayor Samuel Co, wife nabbed PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 December 2013 11:30

Former Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co has been arrested by authorities on Saturday, eight months after his arrest order came out in April in connection with the infamous Aman Futures investments scam that victimized dozens of people in Pagadian, Lanao and other parts of Mindanao of billions of pesos.

The arrest was confirmed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in Manila yesterday,  saying the fugitive mayor was collared along with his wife Priscilla.

“NBI arrested the Co couple [Saturday],” De Lima told reporters.

A warrant for their arrest was issued by the Iligan Regional Trial Court Branch 1 in April.

De Lima said the couple was arrested at around 5:09 p.m. on Saturday at the Ashton 2 Serendra in Taguig City.

She said the National Bureau of Investigation learned about the Cos’ whereabouts after receiving a tip.

“Acting as buyers to gain access in the Serendra Towers, the NBI joint team closely monitored the couple... that led to their arrest,” De Lima said.

Also she said the couple was arrested while inside their vehicle. The Co couple are currently at an NBI detention facility, she added.

Co and his wife were earlier implicated in a large-scale investment scam that victimized 15,000 investors in Mindanao and Visayas last year.

At that time, the NBI tried serving the arrest warrant at the mayor’s home but Co was not found in the address indicated in the arrest warrant.

Last March, the Department of Justice recommended syndicated estafa charges against Co and 11 others for their alleged involvement in the scam traced to Aman Futures Group Philippine Inc.

Based on its preliminary investigation, the DOJ special panel junked Co’s defense that he merely helped Aman Futures in distributing checks to investors and was not a member of the doomed investment firm that duped thousands of victims.

Aside from Co, also charged were Aman Futures founder Manuel Amalilio, who is serving a two-year jail sentence in Malaysia for possession of fake passports and IDs, as well as other Aman Futures executives who were found liable for engaging in futures trading even without the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Syndicated estafa is a non-bailable offense.

The DOJ cited co-accused’s sworn statement in which Leila Gan claimed issuing a certification on Aug. 25, 2012 that Co was an “authorized agent” of the investment firm.

In his defense, Co earlier said he and his wife were also victims of Aman Futures as they invested P3,266,700 in the firm under the account name Bo’s Coffee with an interest of 58-percent interest after 17 days. He made another investment under the account name Max’s Chicken with an amount of P3,205,500 with a 60-percent interest after 17 days.

Co had said he tried stopping Aman Futures from operating but failed to get an authority from the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Pagadian City because its members “were themselves politicians... and no one complained against the operation of Aman.”

In June 2012, Co had ordered the cancellation of Aman Futures’ business permit after finding out that the firm was into futures trading but was registered as a general merchandise business. — GMA News