MANILA, Philippines - Why did Sabah's chief minister, Musa Aman, block the repatriation to the Philippines of alleged Aman Futures scam boss Manuel Amalilio?
The question remains on the minds of top Philippine officials Friday night after Malaysian police, purportedly upon the Sabah official's orders, prevented National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents from bringing the scam suspect back to the Philippines.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, in an interview with TV Patrol, identified the Malaysian official who blocked Amalilio's repatriation as the Sabah chief minister.
"It's not clear why Malaysian authorities stopped Amalilio from leaving," Roxas told ANC.
He said that while the Malaysian state of Sabah has a "different system," Philippine law enforcement agency officers who sought to bring Amalilio back to Manila were bringing all the documents with them to prove that the scam suspect is a Filipino accused of committing a crime in his homeland.
"We have complete documentation of Amalilio as a Filipino," Roxas said.
According to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents brought with them documentary evidence to prove Amalilio is a Filipino.
The documents include the Aman boss' birth certificate issued by the National Statistics Office, his Philippine passport, and NBI clearance.
Amalilio is reportedly claiming Malaysian citizenship and uses the alias Mohammad Suffian Saaid.
"Amalilio is also claiming Malaysian citizenship. That may be the intersection of the conflict," Roxas said.
The alleged ringleader of the P12-billion scam that has duped tens of thousands of people in the Visayas and Mindanao was arrested by Malaysian immigration police Tuesday for carrying a fake Malaysian passport and ID.
Philippine officials got wind of Amalilio's arrest after the Malaysian embassy in Manila informed them of the incident.
Roxas said Philippine National Police Attaché to Malaysia, Senior Supt. Carlo Collado, continues to monitor Amalilio, who has been brought back to a detention center in Sabah.
He said the Department of Foreign Affairs, particularly Ambassador to Malaysia Ed Malay, is working hard to bring Amalilio back to the country.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told media Friday that the Philippine government had no fault in the failed attempt to repatriate Amalilio.
She reiterated that all the of the scam suspect's documents were in order and were verified by the DFA.
She said that up to the last minute, Malaysian police authorities were saying that Amalilio's deportation will push through.
De Lima said she is still waiting for the official report on what happened at the Sabah airport and will map out their next moves in the coming days. - with a report from Jeck Battalones, ABS-CBN News