De Lima open to extraditing Kiram-A A +A
Thursday, March 7, 2013
JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima is looking at the possibility of turning over Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III to Malaysian authorities should cases be filed against him in connection with the ongoing standoff in Sabah.
"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.
On Thursday, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said they may ask the Philippines to hand over Kiram to face cases after his statements allegedly incited hatred and anger among his followers, triggering a firefight in the past few days that left at least 27 people dead.
Aman said that even without the extradition treaty, Manila can extradite Kiram and his group through "in the spirit of [Asean]."
In a separate interview by The Star, Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association (PPMM) president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said Kiram can be held liable for abetting to wage war against the Malaysian monarchy or Yang di-Pertuan Agong, which is punishable by death under their penal code.
In 2001, the Philippines succeeded in bringing home former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) governor Nur Misuari from Malaysia to face rebellion charges despite the lack of extradition treaty.
Raul Hernandez, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman, said Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) signed by Philippines and Malaysia along with several other nations under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) cannot be used for extradition of any nationality.
"It's too early to talk about extradition. [There is] no official request from the Malaysian side, involving the Filipinos in Lahad Datu," Hernandez said.
He added that if there will ever be a request from Malaysia, the department will refer it to the Department of Justice.
The Philippines only has extradition treaties with 10 states--Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Micronesia, Switzerland, Thailand and the United States.
Under the extradition process, the requesting Department of Justice would have to ask the foreign authorities to extradite the subject person through a petition.
The petition would have to go through a summary hearing, which will decide whether or not to allow the extradition.
But without such treaty, the Philippine government can deny the request of the Malaysian government to send Kiram and his followers to Kuala Lumpur.
Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar Binay said the government should carefully assess if Kiram and some people could be charged with conspiracy for sending people to reclaim Sabah, which the clan called as its ancestral territory.
"How can you charge somebody of conspiracy when you do not know if there was an offense committed? We need to check that first," he told reporters on the sidelines of the campaign sortie of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in Bulacan.
Binay said it is better to wait for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to weigh on the possible violations that may have been committed by Kiram’s group. (Virgil Lopez/CVB/Sunnex)