A team of lawmen from the Philippines was about to board a plane for Manila at the Kota Kinabalu airport on Jan. 25 with Amalilio following the turnover of the fugitive by the Malaysian police when they were stopped by senior Malaysian police officials. Amalilio was returned to Malaysian police custody and subsequently convicted and sentenced for fraud by a Kota Kinabalu court.

Malacañang on Saturday insisted that the Malayasian attorney general had not really rejected the Philippines' request for Amalilio's extradition.

The Aquino administration was not expecting Amalilio's "immediate extradition" to the Philippines, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in separate phone interviews.

Lacierda said that the Philippines had not formally sought the extradition of Amalilio so it could not be true that Malaysia had "rejected the (extradition) which we did not ask for."

In a separate statement yesterday, De Lima said that as a result of initial talks in Kuala Lumpur last Wednesday, the Philippines had been assured that Amalilio could be extradited to the Philippines even before he finished his two-year prison sentence.

"The Philippine government can have Amalilio extradited and brought to the Philippines even before the full service of his two-year sentence. The Philippines can avail of the extradition process even if we do not have an extradition treaty. And, in such a process, we understand that Amalilio's citizenship is not an issue and both sides can cooperate," she said.

She said this was the result of a meeting that was held last Wednesday between the Malaysian attorney general on one side and Justice Undersecretary Salazar, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya and two other embassy officials.

"We and the Malaysian government agreed that Mr. Amalilio could be extradited subsequently even without completing his two-year sentence," said De Lima.

The meeting also resulted in the Malaysian attorney general ordering the immediate freezing of Amalilio's assets, such as shares, stocks and land, she said.

She said Gani also gave an assurance that pending his final extradition or turnover to Philippine authorities, Amalilio would be kept in jail and both sides could "work out possible access" to him for Filipino police investigators and prosecutors.

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