MANILA—To boost the government’s campaign against criminality and terrorism in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte is set to sign two treaties when he visits Russia scheduled later this month.
Justice Undersecretary Antonio Kho said the Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition treaties will be among those that will be signed during the President’s official visit Russia.
“The signing of the two agreements during the visit of President Duterte to Russia will be a significant step forward in combating the scourge of criminality, including terrorism and drug related crimes,” said Kho.
“We will continue to enhance our relationships with other countries to address our common challenges in the face of increasing attacks from criminal syndicates,” he added.
Kho said this was made possible after officials from the DOJ, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Philippine Embassy in Moscow, and officials from the Russian Ministry of Justice, Ministry of the Interior, Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the President met for six days of negotiation late last month at the Philippine Embassy in Russia to hammer out the details of the said agreements.
Kho led the Philippine delegation to the negotiation with their Russian counterparts.
For his part, Ambassador Carlos Sorreta said the signing of the two agreements during the President’s visit will highlight the importance both countries give to fighting crime, including those committed by terrorists and international drug syndicates.
At the same time, Sorreta said negotiation has also achieved significant progress on the proposed Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners (TSP) Agreement though he said further talks would still be needed.
He said the TSP most likely will be signed after President Duterte’s visit.
“The negotiators did their best to complete their work on the TSP Agreement, including negotiating into the weekend. They were able to come to agreement on the language for a number of articles. But given the differences in our criminal law and procedure, we will still have to work out common language on some remaining issues,” the envoy said adding he is confident the agreement will be signed before the end of the year.