PNoy assures legal aid for detained Kiram men
NAGA CITY – President Benigno Aquino III said the Philippine government will provide legal assistance to members of the Sulu sultan's royal security force, who have been charged in Malaysia over the conflict in Sabah.
“Automatic na bibigyan natin ng legal assistance kung sinumang kababayan natin na humaharap sa pagsasakdal regardless kung naniwala tayo sa pinaglalaban nila o hindi. Pero may obligasyon tayo na pangalagaan ang kanilang mga karapatan. Nakatutok diyan syempre ang Department of Foreign Affairs, katulong ang Department of Justice," Aquino told reporters on Thursday.
Malaysia has filed terrorism-related charges against 8 Filipinos in relation to the armed conflict in Sabah.
The 8 are members of a group of armed men who clashed with security forces March 1 after landing in a remote coastal area and pressing a 19th century claim to the land.
Security forces are still hunting down the remnants of the group that sailed in mid-February to Sabah state on Borneo island, eventually triggering battles that left up to 71 dead. Nine of the dead were Malaysian security personnel.
Bernama news agency said 8 men, aged between 17 and 66, were chaged with terrorism and waging war against Malaysia's king after appearing in a heavily guarded court in the coastal town of Lahad Datu, site of most of the fighting. – with Reuters