Today at the DOJ Justice Hall in Manila, Secretary of Justice Jesus Crispin C. Remulla and the United Kingdom (UK) Ambassador to the Philippines, Her Excellency Laure Beaufils, put pen to paper, officiating the signing of the PH-UK Treaty on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This act further solidifies strengthening of bilateral relations between the Philippines and the UK.
The Treaty, aligning with international standards, offers a framework where individuals sentenced in one Contracting State can opt to serve their sentences in their native country. The underlying rationale is that being closer to family, friends, and familiar culture can better facilitate the rehabilitation of the sentenced individuals. Consequently, Filipinos convicted in the UK can now choose to serve their remaining sentences in the Philippines, easing their reintegration into society upon completion.
This new Treaty is seen as complementary to the PH-UK Extradition Treaty and the PH-UK Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Treaty, both of which were established in London back in 2009.
The discussions that led to this Treaty were held over two days, from 25-26 July 2023, in Manila. These negotiations were hosted by the Department of Justice (DOJ), primarily through the Legal Staff (Office of the Chief State Counsel), which acts as the country's central authority for International Legal Cooperation.
By the Special Authority issued on 21 July 2023, His Excellency Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. assigned Chief State Counsel Dennis Arvin L. Chan to helm the Negotiating Panel. He was joined by Assistant Chief State Counsel Mildred Bernadette B. Alvor, State Counsels Florina C. Agtarap and Jennelyn D. Bilocura. Key officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) also played a pivotal role in the discussions. The UK's side was led by Ms. Sarah Wilson, Foreign National Office Policy Manager from the Ministry of Justice.
This Treaty stands as testament to the shared dedication of both countries in enhancing their mutual relations and commitments.