The Philippine National Police has relieved its provincial director in Zamboanga del Sur for failing to stop an investment scam that duped thousands of people of about P12 billion.

Senior Supt. William Marzan’s relief as head of the provincial command took effect Thursday, Chief Supt. Napoleon Estilles, Zamboaga Peninsula regional police director, said.

“Inutusan kasi siya (Marzan) na itigil ‘yun, pigilan. Ang daming biktima, pati ‘yung mga tauhan niya nag-ivest doon,” Estilles said in a phone interview.

Marzan was replaced by Senior Supt. Romeo Uy, Estilles said.

Estilles earlier relieved Pagadian City Police chief Supt. Kenneth Mission and nine personnel of the Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Police’s intelligence section for their failure to stop and alleged involvement in the scam by Aman Futures Group Phils. Inc.

In a press briefing, PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo said Aman Futures duped at least 53 policemen, who invested salaries, savings, and even loans.

“Maraming nag-loan sa mga lending institutions, ‘yung iba utang sa kamag-anak,” Cerbo said.

Most of the victims, however, are low-income civilians who invested hard-earned money, just to avail of profits that reportedly go as high as 80 percent of the investment in 20 to 30 days.

In a press statement, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas said 80 percent of the about 15,000 victims are from Pagadian City, while the others are from Marawi City, Ozamis City, Iligan City, and even Cebu.

Aman took the hard-earned money from retirees, teachers, police, farmers, and even pastors, Roxas said.

“This scam was perpetrated starting as early as February and there have been very loud indicators that this scam was happening. People were lining up as early as 2 in the morning to try to get in the premises of Aman,” he said.

“The fact that there was no report that filtered up from the [Pagadian] City PNP to the province, to the region, all the way to headquarters indicates, at the very least, negligence or laziness,” Roxas added.

Cerbo for his part, said the PNP will not “segregate” complaints by its personnel from that of civilians.

“Ang objective namin dito ay makuhanan statement lahat at matukoy kung sino ang nabiktima para makagawa tayo ng isang malakas na kaso,” he said.

The PNP will coordinate closely with the Department of Justice and National Bureau of Investigation in filing the case, Cerbo said.

The NBI, as of Wednesday, was already processing 8,000 complaints against Aman Futures, Cerbo said.

He said the investment company’s founder, Manuel Amalilio, has reportedly been traced in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. (John Roson)

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