De Lima: Amalilio’s Malaysian ties won’t affect extradition-A A +A
Monday, February 11, 2013
MANILA (Updated) -- Extradition proceedings against Aman Futures head Manuel Amalilio will not be affected by his reported link to Sabah chief minister Datuk Serik Musa Aman, who allegedly blocked his deportation to the Philippines last January 25 due to a case.
This was assured by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday in light of Malaysia’s approval to send Amalilio back to the country even before his two-year sentence for possession of fake Philippine passport is fully served.
"What is important to us is that communication lines are open and assistance has been assured (by the Malaysian government). For us, it’s not prudent and wise to make an issue out of Amalilio’s reported relationship with high-ranking officials. It may only hamper our cooperation with Malaysian authorities," she told reporters.
Amalilio, currently facing syndicated estafa cases before the Pagadian City Regional Trial Court branch 20, is said to be a distant relative of the Sabah official.
A group of prosecutors will soon go to Kuala Lumpur to discuss with their counterparts the extradition process, a commitment secured last week by a high-level contingent led by Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar and Ambassador Eduardo Malaya who met Malaysian Attorney General Tan Sri Gani Patail.
De Lima, however, could not say how much time it would take to finish the process.
Last Saturday, de Lima also reported 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.
She thanked Patail for the initiative, saying it "has gone a long way in keeping the hopes alive for the victims of Amalilio's alleged criminal acts committed in our country."
"I remain optimistic and confident that the day is not too far when Amalilio shall be returned to our country to answer the charges he now faces," she said in a separate statement.
The Department of Justice is also looking into the complaints against Pagadian Mayor Samuel Co, who supposedly connived with Amalilio to siphon millions of pesos from investors who were made to believe the firm's double-your-money scheme.
Co is a member of the Liberal Party (LP) chaired by President Benigno Aquino III as de Lima said that her prosecutors will be fair in handling the complaints.
"The public should understand that the DOJ has the mandate and I keep on saying that we do things or, at least, we try our best to do things and dispose of cases without fear or favor. We always shield ourselves from any partisan influence," she said.
She added that even President Aquino himself asked the department to just focus on finding justice for the estimated 15,000 victims who lost some P12 billion to Aman. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)