Samuel S. Co

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Samuel S. Co
Mayor of Pagadian
In office
June 30, 2004 – June 30, 2013
Preceded by Henry Dogon
Succeeded by Romeo Pulmones
Personal details
Profession Entrepreneur,
Politician

Samuel S. Co (also known as Sammy Co) is a Chinese Filipino politician who served as mayor of Pagadian City, Philippines from 2004 to 2013. He has also served as vice mayor and city councilor of the same city.

Political life[edit]

Co served as city councilor before becoming vice mayor, replacing Henry Dogon when the latter ascended as mayor upon the death of Warlito Pulmones.[1] In 2004, he ran against Henry Dogon to win his first election as mayor of Pagadian.

Position Duration of office
Mayor of Pagadian 2010-2013
Mayor of Pagadian 2007-2010
Mayor of Pagadian 2004-2007
Vice Mayor of Pagadian 2003-2004
City Councilor of Pagadian 2001-2003
City Councilor of Pagadian 1998-2001

He had two successful reelection bids in 2007 and 2010. In the 2010 mayoral race, he won with 93.99% of the votes against 6.01% of opposition Crisostomo T. Lagare, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino. [2] During his incumbency, he oversaw the rehabilitation of the Pagadian City Airport and the construction of the Philippines's first government-owned mall, the C3 Mall.

After three terms as mayor, he ran for the congressional seat of the first district of the province of Zamboanga del Sur under the Liberal Party.[3] Marred by his alleged involvement in the Aman Futures Scam, he lost to Victor Yu. His wife Priscilla, who was running for mayor of Pagadian, lost to Romeo Pulmones.

Regional center dispute with Zamboanga City[edit]

During Co's second term in office, Pagadian City started its now-protracted dispute with Zamboanga City on the regional center issue. On November 12, 2004, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, under the authority of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, issued Memorandum Circular No. 75, s. 2004, ordering the transfer of regional offices of departments and agencies from Zamboanga City to Pagadian, except those of the Departments of Trade and Industry, Labor and Employment, and Tourism.[4] The three exempted departments were to remain in Zamboanga, the city being the commercial and industrial center. The same memorandum cited Executive Order 429 issued by President Corazon Aquino which declared Pagadian as the "regional center" of the Zamboanga Peninsula.[5]

Zamboanga City contested the transfer of regional offices to Pagadian.[6] Then Zamboanga Mayor Celso Lobregat rejected a proposition to distribute the regional offices across the region.

In 2010, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., under the authority of President Benigno Aquino III, issued Memorandum Circular No. 11, s. 2010, halting the transfer of regional offices. The order also maintained status quo, noting that, "The Regional Offices that are already in Pagadian City shall continue to operate thereat."[7]

In 2011, the Regional Development Council (RDC) voted 26-4 in favor of recommending Zamboanga City as the regional center, despite protests from Pagadian.[8] Regional offices that were transferred to Pagadian remain in the city however.[9] The City of Government of Pagadian pursued for the development of the President Corazon C. Aquino Regional Government Center, a government complex in Balintawak which now hosts regional offices of several agencies, including the National Economic and Development Authority.[10]

Aman Futures controversy[edit]

Considered as one the Philippines' biggest ponzi schemes, the Aman Futures Scam robbed investors an estimated PHP 12 billion ($ 294,000,000).[11] The scheme offered a 30 to 60 percent return on investment, enticing 15,000 people, mostly from the low-income class.

In a letter to the National Bureau of Investigation, Zamboanga del Sur Governor Antonio Cerilles implicated Co in the scheme citing the latter's distribution of checks to investors.[12] Co brushed aside the accusation as "character assassination" led by Cerilles, claiming it was aimed at discrediting him to his colleagues in the Liberal Party and derailing his candidacy for the congressional seat of the first district of Zamboanga del Sur. [13][14][15]

Co maintained his innocence, but the special panel formed by the Department of Justice found him to have “acted not merely as an investor but also as an agent of Aman.”[16] He was charged of syndicated estafa with Aman Futures founder Manuel Amalilio and other executives of the fraudulent investment firm.[17]

On April 11, 2013, Co was ordered arrested by a court but could not be found at his residence in Pagadian City.[18] Co and his wife Priscilla went into hiding until they were arrested on December 2013 in Bonifacio Global City in Metro Manila.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Sammy Co is married to Priscilla "Ilang-Ilang" Co, née Fernandez, who comes from a political family. He is also a businessman whose portfolio includes Café Ilang-Ilang and franchises of Jollibee, Greenwich Pizza, and Bo's Coffee.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Mindanao City Mayors 1988-2013" (PDF). MindaNews. Archived from the original on May 11, 2013. Retrieved April 14, 2017. 
  2. ^ http://electionresults.comelec.gov.ph (retrieved May 14, 2010)
  3. ^ "DOJ won’t play politics in resolving Co’s case". Inquirer.net. February 11, 2013. Retrieved April 14, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Memorandum Circular No. 75, s. 2004". Official Gazette. November 12, 2004. Retrieved April 13, 2017. 
  5. ^ "EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 429". LawPhil: Arellano Law Foundation. Retrieved April 13, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Lobregat: Zambo open to Western Peninsula region but…". MindaNews. February 1, 2011. Retrieved April 13, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Memorandum Circular No. 11, s. 2010". Official Gazette. December 22, 2010. Retrieved April 13, 2017. 
  8. ^ "RDC chooses Zambo as regional center of Region 9". Zambonga.gov.ph. March 29, 2011. Retrieved April 13, 2017. 
  9. ^ "PAGADIAN REMAINS THE REGIONAL CENTER OF ZAMBOANGA REGION". MEBNews. Retrieved April 13, 2017. 
  10. ^ "SEC. ESGUERRA GRACES INAUGURATION OF NEDA IX BUILDING IN PAGADIAN CITY". Neda.gov.ph. Retrieved April 13, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Timeline: The Aman Futures pyramid scam". Rappler. November 16, 2012. Retrieved April 10, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Timeline: The Aman Futures pyramid scam". Rappler. November 28, 2012. Retrieved April 10, 2017. 
  13. ^ "2nd estafa raps filed vs Pagadian mayor, wife over investment scam". GMA News. November 29, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2017. 
  14. ^ "BI on alert for people behind pyramid scam". Rappler. November 16, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2017. 
  15. ^ "Mayor tagged in Aman Futures scam insists he’s innocent". Inquirer.net. February 13, 2013. Retrieved April 11, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Pagadian mayor ordered arrested over Aman Future's scam". PhilStar. April 12, 2013. Retrieved April 11, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Pagadian mayor charged for Aman Futures scam". ABS-CBN News. March 12, 2013. Retrieved April 11, 2017. 
  18. ^ "De Lima warns coddlers of Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co". Inquirer.net. April 15, 2013. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Ex-Pagadian mayor, wife arrested for scam". PhilStar. December 16, 2013. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 


Preceded by
Henry Dogon
Mayor of Pagadian
2004–2013
Succeeded by
Romeo Pulmones