MANILA - Outbreak of violence in Sabah has forced the Department of Justice (DOJ) to suspend efforts to have alleged conman Manuel Amalilio repatriated to the Philippines, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Tuesday.
She said the DOJ mission to retrieve Amalilio, the alleged brains behind the P12-billion Aman Futures scam, has been "deferred indefinitely."
"This is one of the results of Kiram group's incursion and activities," she said, referring to Sabah incursion of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III's "royal army".
She consulted the Department of Foreign Affairs before making the decision.
"Because of the things happening in Malaysia I don't think we have the right environment or atmosphere to be talking without counterparts regarding the extradition of Amalilio. They are also preoccupied on Sabah," de Lima said.
"Prudence dictates this is not the right atmosphere or moment to sit down with Malaysian officials to talk about Amalilio. It will be uncomfortable in doing that given the situation now in Sabah," she explained.
The DOJ earlier formed created a panel of officials and state lawyers tasked to work on Amalilio's extradition and forfeiture of his assets.
Amalilio faces syndicated estafa charges for his firm's alleged scam.
However, his extradition to the Philippines was stalled by a 2-year sentence slapped on him by a Malaysian court for violations of their passport laws.