Extradition Treaty between Singapore and Philippines – Legal Research

Ability of foreigners stranded in Manila to fly home to their country of residence / citizenship.

At present 21 August 2020, distressed foreigners stranded in various destinations in the country following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are being assisted to be repatriated to their home countries through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) with the assistance of the foreigner home country’s embassy in Manila. In fact several special Philippine Airlines flight had been chartered by various governments to fly their stranded nationals in various destinations in the Philippines. This is done by the Philippine government for countries which does not have a direct flight out of Manila, however since Singapore is a mere 3:15 minutes flight from Manila with once weekly flight, stranded tourists can directly book their travel arrangement with Philippine Airlines.

There is a Philippine Airlines flight (PR507) from Manila to Singapore departing Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Saturday 22 August 2020 at 09:35 and arriving in Singapore Changi Airport at 13:15 local time. Flights between Manila and Singapore currently departs every Saturday only for Overseas Foreign Workers (OFW) and stranded foreigners in the Philippines with a right to stay in Singapore. PR 507 as scheduled, as of the writing of this report 09:30AM 21 August 2020 (Friday) is a wide open flights catering for Economy Saver passengers, Economy Value passengers, Economy passengers, and Business Class passengers.  There are 53 seats available for sale in this Airbus A321-231 aircraft by the country’s flag carrier – Philippine Airlines.

 

Travel restrictions in Singapore: Effective 27 March 2020 0900H, all travelers arriving in Singapore must submit a health declaration. All citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders must undergo a 14-day Stay-Home Notice.

  1. Advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA Singapore) as of 21 August 2020. Foreign nationals, including Singaporeans, can depart the Philippines at any time during this period, subject to the availability of flights. Please note that each region and province could impose additional criteria for travel, including proof that the foreign national possesses a ticket within 24 hours of their scheduled flight, or a health certificate. Singaporeans who are currently in the Philippines and whose visas have expired should contact their nearest Bureau of Immigration office to set up an appointment to renew your visa to avoid incurring penalties.

 

Existence of an extradition treaty between Singapore and the Philippines.

International cooperation between Philippines and Singapore on extradition and mutual legal assistance

The Philippines is a state party to the “Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters,” or the so-called “ASEAN MLAT” entered into by the governments of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

 

The MLATs entered into by the Philippines contain some of the following notable provision for the assistance in:

(i) Gathering of evidence;

(ii) Taking the testimonies or statements of persons,

(iii) Execution of requests for searches and seizures;

(iv) Facilitating the personal appearance of witness;

(v) Transferring of persons in custody for testimony or other purposes;

(vi) Obtaining and production of judicial and official records;

(vii)Tracing, restraining, forfeiting and confiscating the proceeds and instrumentalities of criminal activities, including assistance in proceedings related to forfeiture of asset, restitution and collection of fines; and

(viii) Providing and exchanging information on law, documents and records.

 

Extraditable offense

For an offense to be extraditable, it must conform to the Dual Criminality Rule. Dual criminality relates to acts that are criminal in both the requesting and requested states.  Generally, the requirement of dual criminality is discretionary upon the requested state. However, the Philippines has bilateral agreements wherein it is expressly stated that assistance will be provided without regard to whether the alleged conduct constitutes an offense under the laws of the requested party.  As a rule, the Philippines does not decline requests for mutual assistance, be they treaty or non-treaty based, on the ground of absence of dual criminality.

 

III. Process of having a foreigner deported from the Philippines.

Requesting Officer; Requirements

Request for extradition may be made by any foreign state or government with which the Philippines has an extradition treaty or convention in force.  Such request may be made by the diplomat of the foreign state, addressed to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines which shall be accompanied by the following:

 

(i) the original or authentic copy of either- (a) the decision or sentence imposed upon the accused by the court of the  requesting state, or (b) the criminal charge and the warrant of arrest issued by the authority of the requesting state or government having jurisdiction of the matter or some other instruments having the equivalent legal force;

(ii) a recital of the acts for which extradition is requested, with the fullest particulars as to the name and identity of the of the accused, his whereabouts in the Philippines, if known, the acts or omissions complained of, and the time and place of the commission of these acts;

(iii) the text of the applicable law or statement of the contents of said law, and the designation or description of the offense of the law, sufficient for the valuation of the request; and

(iv) such other documents or information in support of the request.

 

Provisional Arrest and Right to Bail

In case of urgency, the requesting state may, pursuant to the treaty or convention in force, request the provisional arrest of the accused pending receipt of the request for extradition.  The said request for provisional arrest shall be sent to the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) of the Philippines which can be done through the Diplomatic Channels or direct by post or telegraph. The Director of the NBI or any official acting on the Director’s behalf shall, upon receipt of the request, immediately secure a warrant for the provisional arrest of the accused from the Regional Trial Court judge of the province or city having jurisdiction.  It is incumbent upon the NBI Director through the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to inform the requesting state of the result of its request. The accused shall be released from custody if within 20 days after the provisional arrest the Secretary of Foreign Affairs has not received the request for extradition and the required document.  This release shall not prevent re-arrest and extradition of the accused if a request for extradition is subsequently received with a treaty or convention in force.

 

In 2007, the Supreme Court of the Philippines ruled that the right of a prospective extraditee to apply for bail must be viewed in the light of the various treaty obligations of the Philippines concerning respect for the promotion and protection of human rights. Under these treaties, the presumption lies in favor of human liberty, thus it should not impair the right to liberty of every individual subject to extradition.  The high court likewise opined that an extradition proceeding, while ostensibly administrative, bears all earmarks of a criminal process and a potential extraditee may be subject to arrest, restraint of liberty, and forced transfer to the demanding state after compliance with procedure.

 

Conclusion

           While the Philippines and Singapore does not have a direct extradition treaty, the same benefits may be availed of under the “Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters,” or the so-called “ASEAN MLAT”.  It is recommended that you coordinate with the Singapore police through post at:

Singapore Police Force

Police Headquarters

New Phoenix Park

28 Irrawaddy Road

Singapore 329560

or contact them through phone at (+65) 1234 56789 from overseas, and advise them of the nature of the investigation being undertaken in Singapore against your husband, including his whereabouts in the Philippines.  Perhaps, they have stayed their investigation as he is not in Singapore for questioning and since he is not in the jurisdiction at the moment the investigation remains pending.

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