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24 Filipino Fishermen On Trial in Sabah

May 19, 2008

Here’s something for the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumper if they would care to pay attention and take action, however belated it may be.

24 Filipino fishermen were recently arrested by Malaysian Navy or Cost Guard authorities for allegedly fishing in Malaysian territorial waters in the disputed area off the coast of North Borneo.

What is alarming is that according to no less than former U.P. College of Law Dean Merlin Magallona, the Filipino fishermen who are employees of a fishing company in Navotas are all being detained and have been put on trial without formal notice to the Philippine government, in direct violation of Article 136 of the Vienna Convention on consular affairs.

Equally disturbing is the information that while our embassy in Kuala Lumpur has reportedly learned of the plight of the Filipino fishermen, “Philippine consular officials have not been able to extend assistance because of the distance of the Malaysian capital from Kota Kinabalu.”

Paging Undersecretary Esteban Conejos please. Another personality on whose table this issue properly lies is Philippne Ambassador to Malaysia Victor Lecaros, who at one time was also spokesman for the DFA, and if our information is correct, was also posted in KL during the Flor Contemplacion case.

We do hope this does not indicate a ‘track record of inaction’ on Mr. Lecaros’ part.

Your move, gentlemen.

More details in our next post.

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