De Lima: Amalilio's Malaysian 'ties' won't bar extradition

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 11 2013 01:21 PM | Updated as of Feb 12 2013 12:38 AM

MANILA - Aman Futures founder Manuel Amalilio's alleged ties with key Malaysian officials will not hamper the Philippine government's efforts to bring him back to the Philippines to stand trial for several cases of syndicated estafa.

Justice Sec. Leila De Lima told reporters this morning that communication lines remain open between Philippine officials and their Malaysian counterparts regarding Amalilio's possible extradition to the Philippines.

Malaysia has agreed to allow the initiation of extradition proceedings against Amalilio on the basis of its extradition law in spite of a 2-year jail sentence handed down against him by a Malaysian court for violations of their passport law.

"Ang importante, open na open [communication lines] and ina-assure tayo ng kanilang assistance. Yung reported relationship with high ranking officials, sa amin, it's not going to be prudent and wise [to make an issue out of that]. Hindi makakatulong yan and baka makasama pa sa pakikipagtulungan natin sa Malaysian authorities," she said.

Amalilio, wanted here for large-scale estafa in connection with his firm's alleged P12-billion double-your-money scheme, is reportedly related to the Chief Minister of Sabah.

Amalilio's assets in Malaysia were also ordered frozen by the Attorney General there following a meeting last Feb. 6 with a Philippine contingent led by Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar and Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Ed Malaya.

De Lima said Amalilio may be extradited to the Philippines before completion of his 2-year jail term. The Department of Justice will send a team of prosecutors to Malaysia to begin working on his extradition.

The justice chief also clarified that the issue on Amalilio's citizenship -- whether he is Filipino or Malaysian -- will not be relevant to his extradition.