Palace clarifies ‘rejection’ of Amalilio’s extradition-A A +A
Sunday, February 10, 2013
MALACANANG clarified Sunday that Malaysia has yet to reject the extradition of Aman Futures head Manuel Amalilio, assuring that the Philippine Government is working hard to bring him back to the country.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the state counsels have yet to discuss the extradition process with the Malaysian government.
“There were some inaccurate reports in some of the broadsheets today (Sunday) that the request for extradition was rejected,” Valte said in an interview over government-run Radyo ng Bayan.
“That’s inaccurate kasi, unang-una po, papunta pa lang po ‘yung state counsels natin, ng DOJ, to formally start the extradition process,” she added.
The Palace official said the government is not giving up in making Amalilio accountable to his victims in the Philippines even if Malaysia reportedly insisted of holding the scam suspect until he has served his two-year prison sentence for possession of fake passport.
Malaysian Attorney General Tan Sri Gani Patail purportedly ruled out Amalilio’s return to Manila to face charges of syndicated estafa since the scam suspect is a Malaysian citizen.
Valte said the Philippines can avail itself of the extradition process even if the country does not have an extradition process with Malaysia.
“Kahit wala po tayong extradition treaty with Malaysia, Malaysian law allows extradition under certain processes. So pupunta pa lang po ‘yung ating state counsels doon para simulan po ‘yung formal extradition process,” she said.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima earlier said that Amalilio may be flown back to the Philippines to face several cases even before the end of his two-year jail term.
De Lima said the country secured the commitment following initial talks last February 6 by Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar and Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya with Patail.
“We understand that Amalilio's citizenship is not an issue and both sides can cooperate,” she said.
Earlier, there were speculations that Amalilio’s imprisonment complicated efforts to prosecute him in a Pagadian court on cases of multi-million peso syndicated estafa since Kuala Lumpur considered him as a Malaysian citizen, contrary to the claim of the Department of Justice that he is a Filipino.
Patail reportedly assured that “both sides can work out possible access by Philippine police and prosecutors” to Amalilio while in prison, according to de Lima.
She also confirmed that Malaysian authorities have frozen Amalilio’s assets upon the Philippines’ request under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.
Covered by the freeze order are Amalilio’s company shares, stocks, and land assets, among others.
Some 15,000 people claimed to have lost P12 billion worth of investments to Aman Futures Group Philippines Inc. headed by Amalilio, who is currently at the male medical ward of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu undergoing treatment for a supposed liver ailment.
He went into hiding last November when news of the firm’s illegal operations came out.
Amalilio was then arrested in Malaysia in late January but was not allowed to board a plane back to Manila because of a pending case there.
He pleaded guilty to the charge of possession of fake Philippine passport on February 5. (Virgil Lopez/Jill Beltran/Sunnex)