Santiago to plunderers: 'You have nowhere to hide'

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

SENATOR Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Tuesday warned those accused of plunder in relation to pork barrel scam that the long arm of justice will eventually catch up with them after she sponsored three separate extradition treaties between the Philippines and the United Kingdom, Spain, and India.

"Criminals will have fewer places to run and hide in once these treaties become effective," the senator said.

"Corrupt politicians and their partners-in-crime have a tendency to flee to other countries to escape the long arm of justice. We are making sure that arm is longer and stronger. They should have nowhere to hide," Santiago, Senate foreign relations committee chair, added.

Under an extradition treaty, the contracting state parties undertake to extradite or surrender to each other any person who is wanted for prosecution, imposition or enforcement of a criminal sentence in the Requesting State for an extraditable offense.

The Philippines' extradition treaties with the UK, Spain, and India, adopt the dual criminality rule, which means that for an offense to be extraditable, it must be punishable in both the Requesting State and the Requested State, subject to certain conditions provided in the treaty.

Santiago said that all three extradition treaties have a retroactive effect.

"The treaties are applicable to offenses committed prior to the entry into force of the treaties. This means that we can extradite the plunder criminals if they flee to the UK, Spain, or India, even though the plunder was committed before the effectivity of the extradition treaties," the senator said.

The Philippines also has standing extradition treaties with 10 other countries: Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea, Micronesia, Switzerland, Thailand, and the United States of America.

Santiago noted that the Philippines' extradition treaty with the US, for example, helped in getting fugitives Michael Ray Aquino and Cesar Mancao back in the Philippines, after they fled the country following the Dacer-Corbito murders.

The Philippines also has pending extradition negotiations with 12 other countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, France, Iran, Israel, Jamaica, Peru, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, and Vietnam. (Sunnex)

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