MANILA - (UPDATED) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia condemned the burning of its flag by lawyer Elly Pamatong, the self-styled leader of the "United States of America Freedom Fighters of the East" (USAFFE).
A video of Pamatong burning the Malaysian flag and denouncing "Malaysia's continuing invasion of the State of Sabah" was posted by President Pamatong Supporters on Facebook last January 19.
In a statement released Thursday, the Malaysian government said the flag is a sacred symbol of their country and should be treated with respect.
"Such actions and anti-Malaysia comments made by this individual are offensive and the accusations made are baseless," it said.
The Malaysian government is also urging the Philippine government to take "stern action" against Pamatong, as well as to ensure that a similar incident would not happen again "as it could potentially tarnish the excellent bilateral relations which Malaysia and the Philippines currently enjoy."
In a statement sent to ABS-CBN News, the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia said it does not condone Pamatong's actions.
"The Embassy does not condone the incident and deeply regrets that the incident has offended the feelings of Malaysians," it said.
The Embassy also said the Philippine government in Manila is looking into the matter and "shall deal with it accordingly."
"The Embassy reiterates its assurance that it is firmly committed to the development of the excellent bilateral relations between the Philippines and Malaysia."
Pamatong has previously been charged for declaring himself as president of the Philippines, among other criminal acts.