Philippines, China to boost effort vs criminals
MANILA -- Philippine and Chinese authorities expect better enforcement of laws against criminals from both countries when a mutual assistance pact on criminal matters takes effect next month, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday.
The enhanced arrangement on legal procedures follows the exchange of instruments of ratification of the treaty between the Republic of the Philippines and the People's Republic of China concerning Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (MLAT) on Friday at the sidelines of the 18th Foreign Ministry Consultations (FMC) between the Philippines and China, the department said.
"The Philippines-China MLAT provides a legal framework for assistance in the investigation and prosecution of criminal offenses. Assistance under the agreement includes the taking of testimony of witnesses, provision of documents and items of evidence, exchange of criminal records, execution of searches and seizures, location and identification of witnesses and tracing and confiscation of proceeds of crimes, as well as freezing of assets," the DFA said.
Given the rising number of transnational crimes, the MLAT will allow the Philippines and China to obtain evidence, witnesses and proceeds of crimes that are beyond the country's physical and legal jurisdiction and win the fight against transnational crimes, it added.
Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs Irene Susan Natividad and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing exchanged the instruments of ratification in simple ceremonies witnessed by the Philippine and Chinese delegations.
Both countries signed the agreement on 16 October 2000 and will take effect on November 18. China ratified the Treaty in 2001 and the Philippines on May 8, 2012. (SDR/Sunnex)