Philippines and India delegations met for the negotiations of the Treaty on Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreement (TTSP) and Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (MLAT). The negotiations made significant progress, with only a few issues to be threshed out.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) – Office of the Chief State Counsel (Legal Staff) hosted the negotiations in Manila from 23 to 25 of August 2023.
Transfer of Sentenced Persons allows citizens convicted of crimes in another country to serve their remaining sentence in their own countries. This will facilitate their effective rehabilitation, being close to their families and friends and be with other inmates with whom they share the same language, culture, customs and religion. Under the proposed TTSP, Filipino and Indian prisoners may be transferred to their home countries to serve their remaining sentences.
Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (MLA) is the process by which a state conducting investigation or prosecution of criminal cases or related proceedings requests legal assistance from another state, the most common of which, includes obtaining evidence or taking voluntary statements from persons, confiscation or forfeiture of property or proceeds of crime. MLA requests are key to obtaining evidence and confiscating illegal proceeds of crime located outside the state where the crime was committed.
These two treaties will complement the Treaty on Extradition between Philippines and India, signed in 2004.
Pursuant to the Special Authority issued on 07 June 2023, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. authorized DOJ Officials Chief State Counsel Dennis Arvin L. Chan, Assistant Chief State Counsel Mildred Bernadette B. Alvor, Senior State Counsel Grace L. Estrada, State Counsel Dave Florenz M. Fatalla, and an officer from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Atty. Eloisa Katrina V. Madamba, to negotiate the treaties for the Philippines. The negotiating panel was joined by other state counsels from the DOJ and another DFA officer.
The Negotiating Panel of India was led by Mr. Rakesh Kumar Pandey, Director, JKL Division, Ministry of Home Affairs, and joined by officers from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs and the Embassy of India in Manila.