Thursday, February 7, 2013

Philippine government should not allow Malaysia to keep Amalilio under its custody

The Philippine government must not immediately accept Malaysia's decision to slap a two year sentence against alleged big-time swindler and bogus investment guru Manuel Amalillio. Amalilio, who headed the defunct Aman Futures Group that reportedly swindled 15,000 Filipinos (including several high ranking officials of the AFP and PNP and numerous local chief executives in Mindanao), has been slapped two years sentence for reportedly carrying a fraudulent Philippine passport. News reports say that Amalilio is in fact a Malaysian who pretended to be a Filipino.

Several people say this was just a ruse to allow Amalilio to escape prosecution and detention here in the Philippines. The two-year sentence, apart from being suspiciously "swift", is also being looked upon as a very soft or light punishment for him who reportedly swindled 15,000 Filipinos by as much as 12 billion pesos through a Ponzi scheme.

Under Philippine law, Amalilio faces a more severe punishment. There are suspicions that Amalilio's sentence was a suggestion made by several of his Malaysian handlers, including an alleged relative of Malaysia's Prime Minister who is said to be a close Amalilio associate.

Malaysia should allow the wheels of justice to grind against Amalilio. For one, being a holder of a Philippine passport suggests that Amalilio already renounced his Malaysian citizenship and ergo, already a Filipino citizen. As a holder of a legitimate Philippine passport, Amalilio has, ipso facto, accepted Philippine jurisdiction. Hence, he should have been deported instead of being made to stay in Malaysia's shores.

The Philippine government must not allow this travesty to frustrate the ends of justice. Government's responsibility is to protect the common good, and Amalilio is well within the jurisdiction of Philippine judicial system by being a holder of a Philippine passport.

The mess that Amalilio created in the South has spurred recent killings particularly in the Zambo and Lanao areas where most of the victims live. Several of the victims have exacted revenge killings against  those who convinced them to part their monies in the Ponzi scheme. This will only stop if Amalilio returns to the country, faces prosecution and punishment, and gives back the billions he reportedly stole from his victims.