Kirams say Palace to hand them over to Malaysia

Mike Frialde - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines  - The Sultanate of Sulu on Monday  bared an alleged plan by Malacañang to have Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, his family in Taguig City and his supporters handed over to Malaysian authorities and face charges over the occupation of Lahad Datu in Sabah by some 200 members of the sultanate's Royal Security Force (RSF) last March.

Speaking to reporters at the residence of Sulu sultan Jamalul Kiram III, Abraham Idjirani, the spokesman for the sultanate, said he has received information from  "reliable" source inside Malacañang that  Aquino is bent on delivering  Kiram, his family and his supporters to Malaysia despite the absence of an extradition treaty between the Philippines  and Malaysia.

"May lumalabas na info from a reliable source that Malacanang is intending to surrender Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and his Taguig supporters to Malaysia," said Idjirani.

Jacel, daughter of Kiram,  meanwhile added that the information of the intended move by Malacañang to surrender the Kiram family to Malaysia interestingly followed the surprise "turnaround" in the findings of the probe done by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on the  landing of the RSF in Sabah.

"The NBI at first said people went to Sabah on thier own. Later, the NBI recommended that charges be filed against the Kirams for conspiring to go to Malaysia," she said.

Jacel also expressed puzzlement on how she, her father and their relatives and supporters could even be extradited to Malaysia based on the NBI's findings that her family and supporters have conspired to incite war with Malaysia.

"Kung ang basehan ng extradition ay ang NBI findings, hindi ko alam paano mangyayari ito. For you to be extradited (to Malaysia) you have to commit a crime in that country. But we have legal and historical claims over that country," she said.

Jacel said that if the charges to be filed against the Kiram family as recommended by the NBI have basis, they will face them.

Meanwhile,  Kiram cautioned  Aquino against  extraditing him and and his family members to Malaysia to face charges.

"Do not forget that before there was a Philippines, the Sultanate of Sulu already existed. We were the first Filipinos.  Why don't you just help us instead of giving us away like kittens." said Kiram in Filipino.

Earlier, the sultanate of Sulu dared  Aquino to prepare a big jail cell for  Kiram, his family and his supporters,  saying they would be facing the charge of inciting a war against Malaysia over Sabah and are willing to be jailed for it.

“Prepare a big jail cell for all of us. We will not run. We will not hide. It is up tthe Filipino people to decide who really abandoned the claim on Sabah,” said  Idjirani.

Idjirani, who earlier said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) had conducted a credible probe on the occupation of Lahad Datu, Sabah, by the Sultanate’s Royal Security Force, has slammed the agency for “concocting” a report finding  Kiram, his family and their supporters of conspiring to incite a war with Malaysia.

“The report by the NBI is concocted. This is lutong macau. They know that the only way of stopping the Sabah claim is to stop the Kiram family,” said Idjirani.

Idjirani said that should warrants be issued for the arrest of the Kiram family  members and their supporters, they would not resist. Idjirani added that the Sultanate is so cash-strapped now that it would  be unable to post bail on the possible charges of inciting to war and violation of the election gunban.

“These are bailable offenses but we do not have the money to post bail. Whether we will be arrested or not depends of the decision of the President,” he said.

Kiram accuses  Aquino of putting pressure on the Kiram family and their supporters just to appease Malaysia which has brokered the peace deal between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Idjirani meanwhile said the Sultanate’s RSF fighters who are still holed-up in Lahad Datu in Sabah under the command of  Agbimmudin Kiram will no longer return to the Philippines. Agbimuddin and some 200 RSF fighters landed in Lahad Dati from Sulu last February 12.

The NBI recommended the filing of illegal possession of firearms and violation of election gun ban and Article 118 of the Revised Penal Code or inciting to war against Kiram and the 38 suspected members of the RSF who were arrested as they were attempting to enter the Philippines from Sabah last March.

The NBI said evidence showed the Kirams in Sulu and their relatives and supporters in Taguig City “had planned (the incursion) as early as November 2012.”

The NBI report, which was submitted to the office of DOJ director Martin Mendez for review last May 21, detailed how the Kirams plotted what investigators called an “adventure” to supposedly demonstrate their territorial claims over Sabah. Mendez, however, refused to give details of the report.

The NBI report  said  the Kirams and their supporters should be indicted for inciting to war with Malaysia, which had triggered clashes between the sultanate’s army and Malaysian authorities that killed several people and which also jeopardized the country’s ties with its neighbor.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima earlier said there is extraterritorial jurisdiction to investigate Kiram and his group under a provision of the Revised Penal Code, which applies the penal law on some crimes committed outside Philippine territory.

The NBI, however, concluded that former national security adviser Norberto Gonzales, Council for Philippine Affairs secretary-general Pastor Saycon, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari, and former media man Waldy Carbonell had no role in the incursion as alleged in earlier reports.

There was no sufficient evidence to prove that any of the four financed or helped the Kirams to bring their armed followers to Sabah, according to the report.

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