By David Dizon, ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 2) – A firefighter who lost P15 million in the Aman Futures Group pyramiding scam said he received threats after refusing to accept only 2% of his entire investment from Pagadian Mayor Samuel Co.
FO1 Fabian Tapayan Jr. said he personally delivered his investment to Aman Futures Group to Co’s house before the entire pyramiding scam collapsed.
“Dun ako nag-invest sa kanya. Sa bahay talaga niya dinala ko yung pera. Hindi siya yung naloko. Kami yung niloko niya,” he said in a radio DZMM interview.
He said that after Aman Futures folded, he personally went to Co’s office at Pagadian City Hall to demand the return of his money.
Instead, he claimed Co only promised to return 2% of his investment and nothing more.
“Hindi na raw ako nababayaran sa capital ko, Bibigyan lang ako ng 2% sa capital ko pero yung capital hindi na raw babayaran. Hindi ko tinanggap yung alok niya. Na high blood ako, nagalit ako sa kanya nun kaya umalis ako. Na-ospital nga ako ng 2 araw,” he said.
He said that after the incident, he was warned by his supervisor that he could be in trouble for refusing to settle with Co. “May nagsabi daw sa kanya na delikado daw ako,” he said.
He said even Co’s wife also promised to bring trouble if Tapayan decided to sue them.
The firefighter said he now carries a gun when he goes out after hearing that some men had been looking for his house. “Pag nag da-drive ako, yung baril ko wala na sa holster, nasa kamay ko na,” he said.
He also said that many barangay officials and city hall employees refuse to speak out against the mayor because of fear.
“Yung mga city hall, takot sa kanya pati barangay officials takot sa kanya kaya ayaw magsalita. Ako lang ang nagsasabi ng totoo sa media, yung iba natatakot,” he said.
The firefighter also appealed for protection from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) after the mayor said he will take revenge on anyone who dares to file a case against him.
“Kasi sa programa ni Mayor na Punto por Punto last week, siya mismo nagsalita si mayor. Kung sino daw ang magdedemanda sa kanya ng kaso, gaganti raw siya dahil malakas daw siya kay [Justice Secretary Leila] de Lima atsaka kay President Noynoy Aquino at ka-partido daw,” Tapayan said.
Co has repeatedly denied backing the Aman Futures Group, saying that he is also a victim of the scam. The scam allegedly duped some 150,000 families of P15 billion.
In a separate interview, Co said he does not know Tapayan and did not threaten the firefighter.
“Hindi ko naman kilala yang si Tapayan. Ang record at reputation ko dito sa Pagadian –hindi ako mamamatay tao. Hindi ko trabaho ang ganun, na nagbabanta ng mga tao,” he said.
He also revealed that he has information that Tapayan got the P15 million from a mayor from Lanao del Sur. Co said it was that Lanao mayor who threatened Tapayan to get the money back.
Co admitted that he offered the use of a government-owned mall to Aman Futures founder Manuel Amalilio after he met him at the Range Rover’s office in Manila. The offer, however, was not taken up.
He also admitted that he lost money in the Aman pyramiding scam after thinking that he could double his money with the group before the 2013 election.