World | Philippines

Filipino Sultan ignores Malaysia’s call for his extradition

Philippine leaders divided on extradition issue

  • By Barbara Mae Dacanay, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 12:31 March 8, 2013
  • Gulf News

Sultan Jamalul Kiram III
  • Image Credit: AP
  • Sultan Jamalul Kiram III (right) of the Sultanate of Sulu, and his daughter Princess Jacel Kiram, talk to the media in their house after attending the Friday prayers at the Blue Mosque at suburban Taguig city east of Manila, Philippines on March 8, 2013.

Manila: A Filipino Sultan ignored Malaysia’s call for his extradition and for his responsibility for his group’s takeover of a village to push for his family’s claim over Sabah, said a spokesman of the Royal Sultanate of Sulu.

“There is no extradition treaty between Malaysia and the Philippines. Malaysia’s call for the extradition of Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III will not prosper,” Ebraham Idjirani, told Gulf News in a phone interview.

When asked about the justice department’s plan to file a case against the Sultan to help push his extradition to Malaysia, Idjirani said, “That is not the proper response [of the Philippine government] to the just cause of the Sultanate of Sulu.”

Malaysia has called for the surrender of Kiram who is based in his home in Maharlika Village in south Taguig.

The Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) signed by Philippines, Malaysia and other nations that belong to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) cannot be used as an instrument to substitute for the absent extradition treaty between the Philippines and Malaysia, said Ambassador Raul Hernandez, spokesman of Manila’s foreign affairs department.

The Philippine government can always deny the Malaysian government’s request to send Kiram and his followers from Manila to Kuala Lumpur, Hernandez said, but added the request will be coursed to the justice department.

Noting what Malaysia should do instead, spokesman Idjirani said, “Malaysia should now respond to the UN and our request for peace talks, after we have complied with the United Nations’ call for sobriety.”

“Many plans are open for the Sultanate of Sulu,” said Idjirani when asked about the places where the proposed peace talks between the Royal Sultanate of Sulu and the Malaysian government.

Earlier, Manila’s Justice Secretary Leila de Lima admitted her openness to Malaysia’s possible request for Kiram’s extradition.

“If they violated Malaysian laws, we will study that. I suppose they also violated Malaysian laws, carrying firearms alone is already a violation of Malaysian laws,” she said.

It was in response to Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman who said that Kiram’s statements allegedly incited hatred and anger among his followers in Sabah, which resulted conflict with Malaysian forces that left 60 dead.

The extradition of Kiram to Malaysia could be done “in the spirit of Asean” Aman proposed.

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