MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang said Philippine authorities are coordinating with their Malaysian counterparts to bring Aman Futures founder Manuel Amalilio back into the country.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said he sees no need for President Aquino to call Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to facilitate Amalilio’s return, citing “a good working relationship” with Malaysian officials and a “mutual legal assistance mechanism” with Malaysia.
“What happened last Friday was a mere temporary setback. We are in the process of bringing Mr. Amalilio back into the Philippines so rest assured that we are taking all efforts to ensure the repatriation of Mr. Amalilio to the Philippines," he said.
“We are confident that with the coordination with our Malaysian counterparts, we would be able to bring back Mr. Amalilio,” he added.
Meantime, the Palace said that Amalilio’s citizenship “was not an issue” when he was stopped from leaving Malaysia.
Lacierda said National Bureau of Investigation authorities brought with them a certified true copy of Amalilio birth certificate to prove that he is a Filipino citizen.
“That is not a problem. We are ready to present the proof of his birth in the Philippines and his citizenship as well. That was not an issue. My understanding [is] it was not an issue,” he said.
Amalilio was all set to board a Cebu Pacific plane at the Kota Kinabalu airport on Friday night when a senior Malaysian official stopped him.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas claimed it was chief minister of Sabah, Musa Aman, who stopped Amalilio from getting on the plane.
Amalilio, founder and head of Aman Futures Group, is facing several cases of syndicated estafa before the Pagadian Regional Trial Court for duping thousands of Filipinos in an investment scam.
He was arrested in Kota Kinabalu last week after fleeing the Philippines at the height of the scam. He uses the name Mohammad Suffian Saaid in Malaysia.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Amalilio is considered a "high-risk detainee" after allegedly duping VIPs in his double-your-money scheme.