MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government may have difficulty requesting Malaysian authorities to deport Aman Futures owner and founder Manuel Amalilio in the absence of an extradition treaty, international law expert Atty. Harry Roque said on Saturday.
Speaking to ANC's "Dateline Philippines", Roque said that with no extradition treaty, Malaysia does not have any legal obligation to surrender Amalilio to Philippine authorities.
The Philippines has no extradition treaty as well as Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with Malaysia.
"The rule is there is no duty to extradite unless there is a treaty," Roque said.
"If there is no treaty, the sad reality is it would really depend on the good will of Malaysia because they will have no obligation whatsoever to comply with the request in the absence of that treaty," he added.
Amalilio was set to be flown to Manila Friday night but was stopped by a senior Malaysian official from boarding the plane at the Kota Kinabalu airport at the last minute.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, in an interview on “TV Patrol” Friday night, identified the senior Malaysian official as the chief minister of Sabah, Musa Aman.
While the reason still remains unclear, Roxas stressed that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) had all the papers proving Amalilio is a Philippine citizen.
Amalilio, who was arrested in Kota Kinabalu earlier this week, also uses the name Mohammad Suffian Saaid in Malaysia.
Roque said once Amalilio proves that he is a Malaysian national, Malaysian authorities will then have no obligation to give him up to a foreign state.
"If he can prove he is a Malaysian national, well obviously the Malaysian authorities will have the obligation to exercise diplomatic protection over his person and should not give him up to a foreign state," he said.
Roque, however, clarified that even if he is proven a Malaysia citizen, with the presence of an extradition treaty, the Philippines can still request for his deportation from Malaysia.
He said the Philippines will then have to make a proper request with Malaysian authorities and the Malaysian court will be the one to decide whether or not to allow the extradition of the subject person.
"If we do have that treaty, then we would have to make a proper request with the counterpart of Department of Justice (DOJ) in Malaysia and they will then be the one to fill the proper deportation proceeding before Malaysian court."
"They still have to comply with the provisions of the treaty which normally involves judicial determination on whether or not the charge upon which the person is sought to be detained or extradited to a foreign country is in fact covered by a similar criminal provision in that state," he said.
Roque said in the absence of an extradition treaty: "Let's just hope Malaysia will nonetheless cooperate with us without the legal obligation to do so."
Syndicated estafa charges are filed against Amalilio before the Pagadian City trial court.
Aman Futures reportedly duped thousands of investors, including teachers, pastors and police officers, in the Visayas and Mindanao for a collective amount of P12 billion.