Gov't to extend legal aid to Kiram followers charged in Malaysia-A A +A
Thursday, March 21, 2013
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III assured Thursday that legal assistance will be extended to eight followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III who were charged in Malaysia.
Regardless of whether the Philippine government believes or not on what they have been fighting for when Kiram followers invaded Sabah, Aquino said it is the "obligation" of his administration to help these Filipinos.
"It's automatic that we will give legal assistance to any of our citizens who are facing charges (abroad)," he said in an interview in Naga City where he led the groundbreaking for the proposed Jesse Robredo Museum.
He said that the government needs to ensure that the rights of the eight Filipinos are protected as he tasked the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Justice to look into Kiram followers' cases.
The eight Filipinos were among those who were allegedly part of the about 180 members of the Sulu Royal Army, some of them armed, who sailed to Lahad Datu on February 12 to assert their claim over Sabah.
The more than two-week standoff between Kiram followers and the Malaysian forces ended in a clash on March 1 where several people were killed. (SDR/Sunnex)