The Department of Justice, through the Office of the Chief State Counsel (Legal Staff), successfully hosted the 6th Meeting of the ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM) Working Group (WG) on the ASEAN Extradition Treaty (AET), from the 11th until the 14th of September 2023 in Boracay, Malay, Aklan.
Delegates from all the ASEAN Member States (AMS) have once again held a fruitful discussion on the AET. Joining this meeting were representatives from Timor Leste, which was granted an observer status and allowed participation in all ASEAN meetings, pending its full membership in the ASEAN.
The Working Group was tasked during the 19th ASLOM to draft the AET. This is in response to the growing need for international legal cooperation due to the surge in cross-border crimes and movement. Since its establishment, the WG on AET has gone over a line-by-line reading of the entirety of the draft AET, and exchanged information on their respective legal systems.
Chief State Counsel Dennis Arvin L. Chan, the Philippine ASLOM Leader, opened the 6th round of Meeting, commending the progress made by the Working Group. He stated, “from the initial draft once fragmented by differences in our respective legal systems to the current draft that reflects the Parties’ willingness, if not commitment, to come up with an instrument that contains standards acceptable to all ASEAN Member States.”
Assistant Chief State Counsel Mildred Bernadette B. Alvor chaired the Meeting. Senior State Counsel Grace L. Estrada led the Philippine delegation. On 14 October 2022, the President granted them a Special Authority to Negotiate the ASEAN Extradition Treaty.
The Philippine delegation was composed of Senior State Counsel Mary Grace R. Quintana, State Counsels Nancy G. Lozano, Maria Laureen D. Suan, Ulyses A. Aguila, Dave Florenz M. Fatalla, Florina C. Agtarap, and Redmond John D. Zulueta; Atty. Elaine D. Hilario-Tiu and Ms. Lourdes G. Maliwat, who represented the interests of the country in the WG on AET Meeting and organized the four-day event as a showcase of Filipino hospitality to our ASEAN friends.
During the Meeting, the second reading of the draft was concluded and the Working Group will continue its work pursuant to its new mandate from the ASLOM.
DOJ recognizes the invaluable support to this Meeting of Executive Secretary and PAOCC Chairman Lucas P. Bersamin, IACAT Undersecretary Nicholas Felix L. Ty, and Malay, Aklan Mayor Floribar S. Bautista.
Extradition is a formal process between states, whereby the requested state surrenders a person into the custody of the requesting state for the person’s prosecution or service of sentence due to the commission of a crime in the requesting State’s jurisdiction. Such a process is invoked through a treaty between its parties. In the context of the AET, parties will follow a single set of regular rules and procedure for extradition between and among them. In an extradition treaty, the DOJ is the Central Authority for the Philippines. As such, the DOJ, through the Office of the Chief State Counsel (Legal Staff), is responsible for making or processing extradition requests.