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Saturday, 23 March 2013

Aquino orders DFA, DOJ to aid 8 Pinoys facing death in Sabah

Malaysian police guard two cuffed Filipinos suspected of being followers of the Sulu sultanate in Sabah. (Reuters file)

MANILA, Philippines -- President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Justice to extend legal assistance to eight suspected followers of the Sulu sultanate charged in Sabah with terrorism and waging war, for which they face possible death sentences.

"It is our obligation to protect the rights of our citizens," Aquino said in an interview in Naga City aired over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

Malaysia said the eight were part of the 235-member group led by Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram that went to Sabah in February to press their proprietary claims over the state and subsequently engaged Malaysian security forces in fighting.

Aquino said he has already ordered Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. to lead a team from the DFA and DOJ in crafting a roadmap to resolve the Sabah conflict peacefully.

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