No need for Aquino to call Malaysia leader, says Palace

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04:55 AM January 29th, 2013

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By: TJ Burgonio, January 29th, 2013 04:55 AM

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

There is no need for President Aquino to call up Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and ask for the release of fugitive Manuel Amalilio to Philippine authorities because foreign affairs and justice officials could work this out on their own, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda called last Friday’s aborted repatriation of Amalilio, allegedly the brains behind the Ponzi scheme that duped 15,000 Filipinos of P12 billion, from Kota Kinabalu to Manila, a “temporary setback.”

Officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Justice are closely coordinating with their Malaysian counterparts for the eventual repatriation of Amalilio, Lacierda said.

Amalilio is the founder of Aman Futures that is accused of defrauding investors.

Lacierda said he doubted the President would call Najib to facilitate Amalilio’s repatriation to face prosecution, “because we have a very good working relationship with our Malaysian counterparts.’’

He said the Philippines had a mutual legal assistance mechanism with its Southeast Asian neighbor.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Sunday the government was shifting to diplomacy to get Amalilio deported to Manila, and stressed the continuing “police to police’’ cooperation between the two countries.

An apparent wrinkle emerged in the operation to get Amalilio after Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II declared that the Sabah chief minister, Musa Aman, had ordered a stop to his deportation.

De Lima said this could not be validated and the emergence of complaints from local scam victims in Kota Kinabalu was the likely reason for the aborted repatriation.

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