No request yet from Malaysia to hand over Kiram – DFA
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has not yet received any official request from Malaysia to hand over Sultan Jamalul Kiram III or any of the Filipinos involved in the recent Sabah conflict to Malaysian authorities, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday.
“So far we have not been officially informed of any request from the Malaysian side to extradite any Filipino who has been involved in the Lahad Datu incident,” DFA Spokesman Raul Hernandez told reporters in a televised press conference.
“We don’t have an extradition treaty with Malaysia,” Hernandez said and any request for extradition that will come from Malaysia “will [be referred] to the Department of Justice (DOJ).”
Justice Secretary Leila De Lima earlier said that they are studying bringing Kiram III to Malaysia to face charges there but said their priority was for him to face charges in the country first.
“We will study [the extradition] but our priority now is the filing of cases here. We have no extradition treaty with Malaysia but there might be some mechanism so that will be included in the study,” De Lima had said.
“In so far as Philippine laws are concerned, we have the primary jurisdiction. If they violated Malaysian laws, we will study that later,” she said.
Kuala Lumpur previously stated it was thinking of filing criminal charges against the members of Kiram’s “royal army” that came to Sabah to assert the Sultan’s claim in the territory.
Kiram III had ordered his men, led by his brother Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, to sail to Sabah last February 11 and reclaim their “homeland.”
At least 30 casualties from both the Malaysian security forces and supporters of the Sultan have been reported from several skirmishes after the Malaysian government ordered all-out air and ground offensives to flush out the group.
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