Malacañang: Amalilio is a Filipino citizen
MANILA, Philippines - Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda insisted that the refusal of Malaysian authorities to repatriate fugitive Manuel Amalilio to the Philippines last Friday, January 25, is a "temporary setback," and has nothing to do with Amalilio's citizenship.
On Monday, January 28, Lacierda told reporters the Palace is "confident" that the government will be able to bring back Amalilio to the Philippines. He denied reports that Amalilio is Malaysian, hence the decision of the country to keep him there.
"We made sure that when we were there, we would have all the documentary proof that Mr. Amalilio is a Filipino citizen," said Lacierda.
"In fact, my understanding is that the National Bureau of Investigation officials also brought along a certified true copy of the birth certificate of Mr. Amalilio. So that is not a problem. We were ready to present the proof of his birth in the Philippines and his citizenship as well," he said.
Amalilio is the head of Aman Futures group, which was behind a P12-B pyramid scam that duped 15,000 investors from Visayas and Mindanao. He escaped to Malaysia late last year as the Ponzi scheme unraveled.
Members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) were supposed to fly Amalilio back to Manila at 6:10 pm Friday, January 25, two days after he was arrested in Kota Kinabalu, but his departure was stalled.
Reason for delay
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has also denied Amalilio is a Malaysian citizen, and explained he was stalled because of complaints from Malaysian scam victims against him.
Lacierda echoed de Lima's earlier statements that they are relying on the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to bring Amalilio back.
He said various government agencies are coordinating with their counterparts in Malaysia to ensure Amalilio's return, and added he does not foresee the need for President Benigno Aquino III to speak to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for Amalilio's repatriation.
"I don't think so because we have a very good working relationship with our Malaysian counterparts. So we don't see that as a problem," he said. - Rappler.com