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DoJ to prosecute Amalilio

MANUEL Amalilio’s two-year jail term in Malaysia will not stop the Justice Department from resolving the complaints against him by some 15,000 people he is said to have duped in a P12-billion pyramiding scam involving his Aman Futures Group Philippines Inc., an official said on Monday. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the Malaysian government had agreed to allow Philippine authorities to gain access to Amalilio while he is serving sentence in a Kota Kinabalu jail for possession of a fake passport. Amalilio had flown to Malaysia in an apparent attempt to avoid prosecution here, but it didn’t take long for Malaysian authorities to get to him. “There are discussions on how our prosecutors can access Mr. Amalilio while in jail,” De Lima said. “Since we cannot physically bring him back yet, at least we can have access to him for the purposes of the ongoing court proceedings here.” De Lima said Amalilio must answer the complaints of syndicated estafa filed against him and the other officers of Aman Futures Group Philippines Inc. by disgruntled investors from Visayas and Mindanao. She said access to the Aman head would most especially be helpful in the pending preliminary investigation of his case by the Justice Department. Only two initial sets of cases have been filed so far by the department in court against Amalilio and his officers, who reportedly all want to become state witnesses. De Lima also did not rule out the possibility that Amalilio will be extradited in March next year or after 15 months as suggested by Tan Sri Gani Patail, the attorney general of the Malaysian parliament, in a meeting on Feb. 6 with a Philippine contingent led by Justice Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar and Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Ed Malaya. “We are made to understand that Mr. Amalilio just needs to serve a fraction of his two-year jail term,” De Lima said. “They mentioned about 15 months instead of two years, but I think that is still subject to negotiation, so perhaps we can still ask the Malaysian government to further shorten that period. This is good news for us.” De Lima said a mutual legal assistance treaty would no longer be necessary to extradite Amalilio since Malaysian laws provided for the extradition of criminals wanted abroad for as long as legal requirements were met. “They are very willing to assist us and they expressed assurance to help us out for Mr. Amalilio’s extradition in the near future,” De Lima said. She said Amalilio’s nationality—whether he is a Filipino or a Malaysian citizen—would no longer be relevant in his case. Amalilio is married to a Filipina and is a holder of a Philippine passport. One reason given by the Sabah airport police in stopping National Bureau of Investigation agents from flying Amalilio to Manila was his being a protected Malaysian citizen. Amalilio’s real name is said to be Kamal bin Said. He was supposed to have been born in Beaufort, Sabah. De Lima also played down reports linking Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman to the botched deportation of Amalilio, who turned out to be his nephew. “At this point, we cannot see any indication that there is any official blocking his return to the country,” De Lima said. She announced over the weekend that the Malaysian government had frozen Amalilio’s assets in Malaysia at the request of the Philippine government.
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