MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is still in the process of confirming reports of about a hundred Filipinos reported detained in Sabah, Malaysia.
“Everything is still being investigated on and our embassy in Kuala Lumpur has already sent its police attaché to ascertain the facts of the incident,” said DFA spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez.
Hernandez said the information is “sketchy” and there are also different versions that are coming out.
“Our security and defense officials are actually talking to their Malaysian counterparts in order to find out exactly what happened and who are the groups involved in this incident, their personalities, identities, whether they are armed or unarmed or whether they have been arrested or surrounded,” he said.
Malaysian police say the group of Filipinos, armed with an assortment of weapons, claimed to be the Royal Armed Forces of the Sulu Sultanate.
The Malaysian government also reported that its security forces have surrounded the Filipinos on the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo Island.
A Malaysian newspaper reported that the Filipinos refuse to be deported to the Philippines and insisted on staying in Sabah.
“We are still at the stage of gathering the facts and we don’t want to come out with tidbits of information because we don’t want to speculate on the incident,” he said.
Hernandez said the DFA knows something but they still need to verify it.
“We want to be responsible because whatever we say at this point will have implications as to what we are doing in that area for our people and also will have implications on our bilateral relations,” he said.