Ex-Pagadian mayor, wife to be presented in court

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Monday, December 16, 2013

MANILA -- Former Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co and his wife, Priscilla, will be brought soon to an Iligan court hearing their syndicated estafa cases after they were arrested last Saturday in a posh condominium in Taguig City.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Monday the couple has to appear for the return of the service of arrest orders. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which is under de Lima's supervision, has 10 days to comply with the rule.

After this, Judge Alberto Quinto of the Iligan City Regional Trial Court branch 1 will decide where they shall be detained while undergoing trial for allegedly duping individuals to invest their money in the defunct trading firm Aman Futures Group Philippines, Inc.

The two are currently at a detention facility of the NBI, whose agents posed as buyers of a unit in Serendra in Taguig City to gain access of the fugitive couple. Co and his wife were nabbed on board their vehicle.

Co was charged with collecting a four percent tax on Aman deposits based on the complaint by Julius Labunog, who claimed to have lost P29.63 million to the investment scam.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said Co issued a temporary business permit for Aman even without submitting all documentary requirements including authorization from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to engage in investment, commodity futures trading and management of funds.

In a separate case with the Pagadian RTC, the DOJ said three complainants failed to recover P10 million worth in investments in Aman. The couple allegedly made representations on behalf of the firm.

"We will exhaust legal remedies. We might file a motion for reconsideration with the DOJ, if not, we will ask for determination of probable cause with the Pagadian RTC. They will remain under detention pending resolution of the motion or petition that we will file," said Co's spokesperson Trixie Angeles.

Co earlier challenged the issuance of arrest warrant before the Court of Appeals station in Cagayan de Oro City. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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