MANILA - Justice Sec. Leila De Lima has written her Malaysian counterpart, Attorney General Tan Sri Patail, to extend the Philippine government's gratitude for his "valuable assistance" and "cooperation" in the Philippines' bid to have Aman Futures founder Manuel Amalilio brought to the bar of justice for his alleged P12-billion Aman Futures Ponzi scheme.
In her letter to Patail dated Feb. 11, De Lima thanked Patail for ordering the freezing of Amalilio's assets in Malaysia following a Feb. 6 meeting with Philippine representatives led by Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar and Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Ed Malaya.
"I thank you in particular for the assurances you gave to our representatives regarding your Government's commitment to assist us, and for the Freeze Order on Amalilio's assets which you issued following the said meeting. Your initiative has gone a long way in keeping the hopes alive for the victims of Amalilio's alleged criminal acts committed in our country," De Lima said.
The justice chief will soon constitute a special panel of state prosecutors and state counsels who shall work on the extradition of Amalilio in response to Patail's suggestion.
Malaysia is willing to have Amalilio extradited to the Philippines before the completion of his 2-year jail term for violations of Malaysia's passport laws.
"In line with the advice you conveyed to our representatives, I am now putting together a panel of prosecutors and state counsels who shall soon visit you for the discussion on how our two governments can push a possible extradition process forward," De Lima said.
In a separate statement, De Lima expressed confidence that Amalilio will be brought to the Philippines to face the charges against him.
The Malaysian government has assured it will keep Amalilio behind bars, De Lima said.
"I remain optimistic and confident that the day is not too far when Amalilio shall be returned to our country to answer the charges he now faces," she said.
Amalilio is facing several counts of syndicated estafa before a Pagadian City trial court and has a pending warrant for his arrest.