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Philippine senator warns plunderers
Santiago made this warning as she sponsored the Senate concurrence in the ratification of the separate extradition treaties between the Philippines and these three countries.
Under the Philippine Constitution, a treaty or international agreement must be concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate to be valid and effective.
"Criminals will have fewer places to run and hide in once these treaties become effective," Santiago said.
According to the senator, because of easier and faster means of international travel, the flight of rich criminals from one country to another to evade prosecution or commit crime has become more frequent. She said extradition treaties are considered to be the most effective mechanism in obtaining the return of international fugitives in order for them to face the consequences of their criminal actions.
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 extradition treaties take effect," the senator explained.
The Philippines also has standing extradition treaties with ten 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 treaties 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 extradition treaties with India, Spain, and the United Kingdom will strengthen our bilateral relations with them, particularly in our common fight against criminality, our common goal of protecting our national security, and our common quest for justice," Santiago said, adding that criminals have nowhere to hide.