Kiram extradition? Not now - Aquino
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III may be extradited to Malaysia to face charges there for the actions of his followers in Sabah, but President Aquino for now wants him to be tried in the Philippines.
"The group's leader has made statements that have incited anger and hatred. Does the Philippines have laws to bring him to justice? If not, maybe we will ask the Philippines to hand him over to us," Malaysian foreign minister Anifah Aman said on a TV talk show, state news agency Bernama reported on Thursday, March 7.
The Philippines however will not be obliged to hand over the sultan as both countries have not signed an extradition treaty.
Anifah explained that he put forward the request to Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and any legal actions will be decided upon based on what is "right and good" for both the Philippines and Malaysia."
Regarding the possible filing of charges against Raja Muda Kiram, the brother of the sultan, and his men in Sabah, whether they will be charged in Malaysia or the Philippines is still "subject to discussion" with Del Rosario, the Malaysian foreign minister said.
Anifah stressed that President Benigno Aquino III already announced they would face the law back home if they return, but if Malaysia arrests them first, "we can also use our laws."
Charges in PH first - Aquino
Asked about the issue, President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday highlighted that the Philippines and Malaysia have not signed an extradition treaty, only the ASEAN Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty "that is already enforced."
"All of these issues are being studied by the Department of Justice currently," he said, and added that the Filipinos involved in the standoff should face charges first in their home country.
"Let our citizens here in the country face the charges that we will be proffering first, then we will talk about other developments after they have satisfied the requirements of our laws," he explained.
Aquino stressed that all possible actions against the sultan and his followers are being reviewed but nothing has been decided yet.
When the investigation is complete, he said, "there will be a determination of whether [the actions] warrant the filing of charges." - with reports from Carlos Santamaria/Rappler.com