Press Release
February 22, 2012

Foreign Relations Committee to Review Mutual Legal Assistance
and Consular Relations Treaties

The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, chaired by Senator Loren Legarda, is set to discuss two Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties and the Consular Agreement with China in a hearing on Thursday, February 23, 2012, 9:00am at the Senate Session Hall.

Legarda said that the Philippine Government's Mutual Legal Assistance treaties with (1) the People's Republic of China (PROC) and (2) the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, seek to establish measures in improving cooperation in investigation, prosecution and in proceedings related to criminal matters, on the basis of mutual respect of the sovereignty and in accordance with the respective laws of the Contracting States.

Meanwhile, the Consular Agreement with PROC provides a framework for bilateral consular relations between the two countries and, among other benefits, will enable the Philippine Government to more effectively protect the rights and promote the welfare of Filipino nationals abroad, and to extend immediate and appropriate protection to Filipinos in China who are being detained, arrested or deprived of freedom.

To serve as resource persons in the hearing are officials from the Departments of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Finance (DOF), Trade and Industry (DTI), Justice (DOJ), Interior and Local Government (DILG), Labor and Employment (DOLE), and representatives from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the academe and concerned non-government organizations.

Legarda said she wants to ensure that the Committee has taken into full consideration the views of all stakeholders concerned in these agreements and has thoroughly reviewed the benefits and implications on the country and the citizens before it submits the treaties to the plenary for the concurrence of the Senate.

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