Ex-Pagadian mayor pleads not guilty on investment scam

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

ILIGAN CITY – The former mayor of Pagadian City pleaded not guilty to syndicated estafa charges during his arraignment at Branch 1 of the Regional Trial Court, Hall of Justice here Thursday.

Presided by Judge Alberto Quinto, former Pagadian City mayor Samuel Co has been accused of being involved in the alleged Aman Futures multimillion investment scam which duped thousands of investors in some parts of Mindanao.

One of the five complainants from this city, who requested not to be named, claimed that their family invested more than P29.6 million in Aman Futures and accused Co of collecting a three-percent tax.

Co, however, denied the accusation.

In an interview with Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro, Co said: “I did not enter a contract with the Aman Futures and impose taxes. We do not collect three-percent tax from Aman Futures as alleged. It is only the Bureau of Internal Revenue who collects three-percent tax.”

“There are only two taxes that the City Government of Pagadian collects. These are real property tax and business tax,” Co added.

Co was issued a warrant of arrest in April last year, a month before the local elections, and was detained at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) facility in Manila.

Former Pagadian City mayor Samuel Co
ILIGAN CITY. Former Pagadian City mayor Samuel Co pleads not guilty in his arraignment at Branch 1 of the Regional Trial Court, Iligan City Thursday. Co is charged with syndicated estafa in his alleged connection with Aman Futures investment scam. (Richel V. Umel)

During the arraignment, NBI agents led by lawyer Alex Cabornay, chief of NBI-Iligan, the Department of Justice, and the Philippine National Police, employed maximum security to Co and his counsel.

Co was sent back to Manila after the arraignment.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled here on February 21.

Co and his wife, Priscilla, were nabbed by NBI agents last December 14, 2013, after eight months of evading charges of syndicated estafa.

The two were arrested by the Investigation Service (IS) and Special Investigation Services (SIS) operatives in the Serendra condominium in Taguig City. The couple owns a unit in the posh dwelling. (Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro/Sunnex)

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