DOJ calls off Amalilio mission

By Edu Punay, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 13 2013 11:17 AM | Updated as of Mar 13 2013 07:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Thousands of investors who lost around P12 billion in the investment scam of Aman Futures Group Phils. Inc. would have to wait a bit longer in their quest for justice, due to the Sabah crisis.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has called off its mission to meet with Malaysian authorities to request the early return of Aman Futures owner Manuel Amalilio, who is currently detained in Malaysia, to the country to stand trial in the syndicated estafa cases filed by the investment scam victims.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed this yesterday as she attributed the delay to the ongoing crisis in Sabah.

The DOJ team led by Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar was set to leave yesterday to negotiate with Malaysian officials for the extradition of Amalilio even before he completes his two-year jail term there for possession of a fake passport.

The DOJ team was tasked to submit the formal request for extradition and supplemental request for the freezing of Amalilio’s assets in Malaysia and other forms of assistance.

She said there is an urgent need to work on the forfeiture of Amalilio’s assets both in the Philippines and in Malaysia.

“I decided to defer it (mission to get Amalilio) indefinitely. This is one of the results of Kiram group’s incursion and activities,” she told reporters.

Realizing the current situation in Malaysia has become volatile, De Lima said she made the decision after consulting with the Department of Foreign Affairs.

More than 60 militants and several Malaysian police officers have been killed since a group of armed supporters of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III went to Sabah last month to resurrect the long-dormant land claims on Sabah.