President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his message during the Meeting with local leaders and the community at the Rizal Park in San Pedro Street, Davao City on Wednesday (March 06, 2013). In photos are Team PNoy candidates that include Aurora Lone District Representative Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, former National Youth Commission (NYC) chairperson Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, former Akbayan Partylist Representative Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros-Baraquel, Senators Alan Peter “Compañero” Cayetano and Francis Joseph “Chiz” Escudero, former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chairperson Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares, Senator Loren Legarda, former Senators Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal and Ramon Magsaysay, Jr., Senators Aquilino Martin “Koko” Pimentel III and Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, and former Las Piñas Representative Cynthia Villar. (MNS photo)

DAVAO CITY, Mar 7 (Mabuhay) — President Aquino on Thursday said he would rather have Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and his conspirators face charges here in the Philippines before entertaining the possibility of sending Kiram to Malaysia to face cases that the Malaysian authorities may be preparing.

Aquino said the government is still investigating the possible charges that the sultan and his so-called “conspirators” may face.

While there is no extradition treaty with Malaysia, Aquino pointed out there is a mutual legal assistance treaty in force under the ASEAN.

Aquino said the Department of Justice is studying what the Philippine government is “empowered to do.”

“From my perspective… let our citizens here in the country face the charges that we will be [preparing] first then we will talk about other developments after they have satisfied the requirements of our laws,” Aquino said.

The President also said he does not see the need to convene the National Security Council anytime soon, as proposed by former President Ramos.

He said he has been dealing with the Sabah situation along with the cabinet’s security cluster, adding that Ramos may instead send his inputs to the President through a memo if he so wishes.

Aquino said the government is working to prevent the situation from escalating further, citing the deployment of 10 Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard vessels to block the sultan’s followers and sympathizers from moving to Sabah for possible reinforcement. (MNS)