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Aman Futures Group made Filipino dream vanish

The Toyota Prado. I always dreamed of owning one. Everyday, I ride a bike to the office to save on tricycle fares. But my dream of one day owning a Prado is very much alive. So is my dream of owning a Rolex. I have a bunch of other things that I wanna have. I know these things are worth millions. Still, with God’s help and guidance, I might be able to get them someday.

What I’m quite sure though is that investing in Aman Futures Group was not the way towards me getting all these things. Despite the fact that the Mitsubishi Montero and the Toyota Fortuner were flocking into Cotabato City by the hundreds, no way was I investing a single centavo in them.

Because no way could these people and their corporation be legit. Money does not and will never ever grow on trees. You cannot make millions out of thin air. 80% interest? Where will you get that much return? What are you selling? I can only think of the petroleum magnates in the Middle East who are capable of doing so, due to the oil cartel.

A friend of mine told me that Aman was investing the money in the stock market, that’s how they earn so much. Oh for crying out loud, since when did the Philippine Stock Exchange give that much yield? Are the blue chip corporations giving out cash dividends everyday? If so,then why invest in Aman when you can do it yourself?

Either Aman was investing the money in the black market and involved in illegal activities, or they were outright scammers. And sure enough, there you have it. Thousands are now flocking to the NBI in the hopes that the government can help them track down the people responsible for the loss of their hard-earned money. All walks of life, from common market vendors up to corporate honchos. Even local officials were duped, and it seems some of them were involved.

From experience, we can only hope and pray that government authorities will be able to extradite Amalilio and his band of scammers. If they are hiding in Malaysia or in other places, the Philippine government will have its hands full trying to arrest them. Extraditing is a difficult process. We aren’t exactly the favorites of the international community when it comes to pinning down international fugitives.

Looking back at what started it all, how could they have pulled this off? How can a simple janitor cook up a brilliant scheme that would involve not just millions, but maybe several billion pesos? He will once again go down in our history backs as another great Filipino con man.

The people of Aman preyed on the Filipino dream. Just as I dreamed of owning a Prado, those who were duped into investing in Aman had big dreams too. They wanted to uplift their way of living. They wanted to stop working day and night like crazy. And I sympathize with them too. Those who invested in Aman wanted a better life not just for themselves, but their families as well.

You have to be away from your children, because you need to take care of the children of your employer in Hong Kong. You served the government for several decades. You bled for it in the battlefield, worked long hours checking examinations and quizzes. You endured being discriminated, being ordered around, treated harshly. And yet you always dreamed that someday, you would see the light. You would see the fruit of all your labor.

Aman Futures Group used that to their advantage. They promised their investors big returns, huge yields, luxuries of life, and of course lots and lots of SUVs. Instead, they only gave them big problems.

Sometimes I wonder if we are really a poor nation. Government authorities are still reconciling the total amount involved in the Aman scam, which was very much a Ponzi scheme. The investments in Pagadian alone amounted to hundreds of millions of pesos. If you combine the investments from other places, the numbers would probably astonish even the number crunchers of SGV.

There will be other Ponzi schemers after Aman, they won’t be the last. I just hope that by then, never again will anybody fall for any of  their false promises.

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