MANILA -- Aman Futures founder Manuel Amalilio's two-year imprisonment in Malaysia for possession of a fake Philippine passport was probably planned to prevent Amalilio from facing the multiple syndicated estafa charges filed against him in the Philippines, international law expert Atty. Harry Roque said Wednesday.
In an interview with radio dZMM, Roque, who is also a professor at the University of the Philippines, said it's possible that Malaysian authorities intentionally blocked Amalilio's repatriation to the Philippines last January 25.
Amalilio was stopped by Malaysian authorities from boarding the plane at the Kota Kinabalu airport at the last minute.
"Bakit naman po nakipag-ugayan ang Malaysian authorities at dun sa last minute kung kailan pasakay na ng eroplano ay saka pinigil? So parang mababasa natin sa kanilang mga akto na talagang ayaw nila last minute na ibigay sa atin si Amalilio," Roque told radio dzMM.
He also said the alleged ties of Amalilio with Sabah's Chief Minister Musa Aman could be the reason behind the blocking of his deportation.
A Philippine Star report said Amalilio is Musa's nephew. Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said Amalilio's mother is Musa’s first cousin. He added Amalilio’s real name is Kamal bin Said, born in Beaufort, Sabah.
According to one report, Musa later admitted his kinship with Amalilio, but denied that he blocked his deportation. A report in a Malaysian newspaper, however, belied this.
"Sa aking palagay, hindi niyo maihihiwalay 'yung kanyang blood relationship sa mga namumuno sa Malaysia dito sa nangyari na hindi siya napabalik sa Pilipinas para kasuhan siya sa isang napakaliit na krimen dun sa Malaysia," Roque said.
"Tingin ko po talagang nagkaroon ng pagpaplano na maudlot 'yung pagpapabalik sa kanya dahil gaya ng nasabi na rin ng mga pulitiko diyan sa Malaysia, eh parang Pilipinas din ang Malaysia. Kung malakas ka ay pwedeng makatakas ka sa hustisya," he added.
Roque said it is also very likely that the move by a Malaysian court to convict Amalilio for holding a fake Philippine passport was intentionally timed with the ongoing efforts of the Philippine government to bring Amalilio back to the country and face charges.
File formal request to deport Amalilio
Roque said he will be filing a formal request to repatriate Amalilio to the country, noting that 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.
"Ako po'y maghahain talaga ng formal na request na siya'y mapabalik sa bayan natin at ang pupwede namang dahilan para siya'y pabalikin ay ikukulong din natin siya ng dalawang taon at sasabihin din natin na napakadaming biktima nito at nagkaroon ng transnational crime dahil posible na 'yung kanyang mga kinita sa pyramiding scam ay nailabas ng Pilipinas," Roque said.
Meanwhile, Malacañang said it respects the conviction of Amalilio but said the Philippine government will still exert efforts to bring Amalilio back to the country and face charges of syndicated estafa for an alleged multi-billion peso Ponzi scheme.