Feb 092013
(Updated 5:14 p.m.) Philippine government lawyers are heading to Malaysia to start formal efforts for the extradition of Manuel Amalilio, the alleged brains behind a P12-billion investment scam, Malacañang said Sunday.

“Kahit wala tayong extradition treaty with Malaysia, Malaysian law allows extradition under certain [circumstances],” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on government-run dzRB radio.

In a separate interview on Sunday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima denied reports that Malaysia had turned down the Philippines’ request for Amalilio’s extradition.

“It was in fact among the outcomes of the February 6 talks with our counterpart, the Attorney General, that the Philippines can commence the extradition process immediately,” she said.

Amalilio’s extradition does not answer the question of his citizenship, de Lima added.

“We made a formal request for such freezing of Amalilio’s assets, such as company shares, stocks, land assets, etc., under the ASEAN Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty… and in such a process, we understand that Amalilio’s citizenship is not an issue, and both sides can cooperate,” she said.

Amalilio was arrested in Malaysia last January for possession of a fake passport. He pleaded guilty to violating Malaysian passport laws and was sentenced to two years’ jail there.

Last weekend, Malaysian authorities said they have ordered Amalilio’s assets frozen.

On the other hand, two members of Malaysia’s Parliament visited the Philippines last weekend to gather facts about Amalilio. They also hinted the loot from his scam may be used to finance the campaigns of some politicians running in Malaysia’s coming elections. — BM, GMA News

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