DFA, DOJ, Palace ordered to study Sulu sultan’s Sabah claim


Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram talks to reporters during a news conference in Alabang, south of Manila, Philippines on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. His followers who crossed to the Malaysian state of Sabah this month will not leave and are reclaiming the area as their ancestral territory, the sultan said Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, amid a tense standoff. AP PHOTO/AARON FAVILA

MANILA, Philippines—Apparently seeking to appease the sultan of Sulu, who has until Friday to order his followers to leave Sabah, the government said on Thursday it was studying the sultanate of Sulu’s claim to the eastern Malaysian territory.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said President Aquino had ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Office of the President itself to study the legal validity of the sultanate’s claim to Sabah.

The DOJ will handle the legal aspect of the claim, De Lima said. The DFA will deal with the policy dimension, while the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office will handle the historical aspect of the claim, she said.

The sultanate is now headed by Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, who last week sent a group of his followers to occupy Sabah, creating a crisis that could revive irritations between the Philippines and Malaysia involving the resource-rich state in northern Borneo.

De Lima said the study would include an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the Sulu sultanate’s claim to Sabah.

The study will dig as deep as possible into the history of the claim, using all “available materials,” including “previous studies,” De Lima said.

No deadline

She said the President did not give her a deadline for the submission of the study but her understanding was that it was a “priority assignment.”

“I will try to finish it in a few days,” she said.

About 300 followers of Jamalul led by his brother, Agbimuddin Kiram, are holed up in the village of Tanduao in Lahad Datu town in Sabah.

They are surrounded by Malaysian police, military and naval forces, and Malaysian authorities have given them until Friday to come out for deportation or they will be rounded up and sent back to Sulu.

The government has sent emissaries to Jamalul to talk to him about settling the crisis peacefully.

Revive claim

The crisis has given rise to proposals for the revival of the Philippine claim to Sabah despite the hesitation of the Aquino administration, which does not want any complications for the peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) being brokered by Malaysia.

The government and the MILF have signed a preliminary peace agreement, and are threshing out a final accord.

Despite the imminence of a final peace deal, Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño on Thursday proposed that the government revive the Sabah claim and “vigorously pursue a diplomatic and peaceful solution” to the standoff in Lahad Datu.

Continuing claim

“The recent actions of the heirs of the Sulu sultanate have very strong historical and legal” basis, Casiño, a senatorial candidate in May’s midterm elections, said in a statement.

“In fact, they are acting on our continuing claim to Sabah, which has been dormant under previous administrations,” said Casiño, a member of the House foreign relations committee.

“[The] government should not turn its back on our Muslim brothers. We should start talks with Malaysia for a just, comprehensive and peaceful solution to the issue,” he said.

“Sabah is populated by Filipino Muslims and has rich natural resources that can help provide food, jobs and materials needed by [industries],” Casiño said.

The Philippines’ claim to Sabah, made on behalf of the sultanate of Sulu, was first made during the term of President Diosdado Macapagal in 1962 before Sabah officially became a state of Malaysia.

Token rental

Malaysia continues to pay a token annual rent of 5,300 ringgit (P77,000) to the sultanate of Sulu as a “cession fee.”

“Succeeding governments have sadly made this claim dormant through the years. It is high time the government, considering our nation’s long-term interests and respecting the right and principle of ancestral domain of our Muslim brothers and sisters, revived our claim to Sabah,” Casiño said.

“This is the best way to diplomatically settle the current standoff that is the reason for centuries of unrest in many parts of southern Philippines,” Casiño said.

Ceded to Sulu

Various historical records and accounts from 1473 to 1658 showed that Sabah was part of the sultanate of Brunei. In 1658, the sultan of Brunei ceded Sabah to the sultan of Sulu in compensation for his help in settling a civil war in Brunei.

In 1885, the colonizers United Kingdom, Spain and Germany signed the Madrid Protocol, recognizing the sovereignty of Spain in the Sulu archipelago in exchange for the relinquishment by Spain of all its claims to Sabah in favor of the United Kingdom.

In 1888, Sabah became the protectorate of the United Kingdom, which then was also occupying Malaysia as its colony.

Upper hand

“Historical records show that the Philippines has the upper hand. Many accounts reveal that the sultanate of Sulu predates all existing governments,” Casiño said.

“The Philippine government must follow through on its official claim to the territory not only for the heirs of the sultanate of Sulu, but for the Filipino people and nation,” he said.

Originally posted at 03:56 pm | Thursday, February 21, 2013

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  • yob jabon

    sabahan do not want join poor country like filipino even filipino come to sabah to work and now they want sabah to recognise them as land owner that a bullshit if i am general i will wipe out this armed filipino group

    • rmshnr

      yob jabon, bawak ramai lagi geng-geng kita untuk hentam org Tausug Tagalog nie …….Boleh ? Bawak yang jenis lagi cekap bagi komen Inggeris…..kita orang ajar dia orang pendatang tanpa izin cukup cukup….

    • The Overlord

      Yeah right, you Malaysian keyboard warrior! Go back to school and learn English before commenting here!

      • rmshnr

        I’m replying to you in English. Our education system are of equivalent standards to those of Singapore. Yours are not !

        While you Filipino lackeys cant string proper sentences in English. 

      • The Overlord

        “Our education system are” should be “Our education system is”
        “standards to those of Singapore” should be “standards to that of Singapore”
        “Yours are not” should be “Yours is not”
        “cant” should be “can’t”

        I wonder where you get that “pride” from learning obviously wrong English. Thank goodness I didn’t get to learn the “type of English that you are so proud of”. I would have been speaking in convoluted Singlish all day, lah! Singlish is much worse than Malaysian English. Heard the campaign in Singapore that the government there is discouraging the use of Singlish? That’s how bad Singapore English is, you keyboard warrior.

        No thanks, I’m quite content with the type of education I got.

      • rmshnr

        I will point it out to to you that you have learnt the wrong English altogether. Filipino command of English will not be any better off than a Malaysian, Singaporean or Bruneian for the fact held by quantities in masses of speakers.

        Try to find out where is the oldest English school built in Southeast Asia is located ? Obviously, it is not built in any former US colonies within ASEAN.

      • The Overlord

        It is very obvious that Singapore/Malaysia/Brunei English is very much inferior than our standard of English in the Philippines. It is common knowledge that Filipinos are the best speakers of English in this side of the world. Eat your heart out, Muslim! Because of all the grammatical errors in your previous post, it only proves how substandard the education that you’ve got. Would you like to check out the ranking in superiority of Business English speakers in ASEAN?

        “Okay, lah!” Is that even a formal English phrase? Hahahaha! Your “logic” is laughable. Old does not equate to being the best. How many times have you flunked at the TOEIC/TOEFL? We don’t even need to get those tests. A simple certification from our university that we received English education is enough to pass university requirements in the United States. Meanwhile, they require you to get these petty tests because obviously “Okay, lah!” does not pass as standard English communication. Hahahaha!

      • rmshnr

        you have got it wrong Pinoy ! What a pompous prig you are ?, I am quoting you ” In Asia, competence in English is equally mixed and the report uncovered a few surprises. Malaysia ranked first among Far East countries and ninth overall. Malaysia, where English is used as a lingua franca between that country’s Malay and Chinese populations, scored the highest in proficiency out of any country outside Europe.

        [kindly replace the commas with dots to read them]

        We dont see Philippines in the list at all ! Your contentions are lost ! I have not got my grammar by mistake in my previous post. A contempt lost in translation on your part.You have got your Business English immersed with Tagalog in your recipe. Anyway, the USA doesnt recognise your kind of creatures from a non-majority English speaking world, from this side of the world. British, Australian and Canadian universities compel you to pass your IELTS and TOEFL with your Pinoy education you have got in English. Shame on your motherland. hahahaha ! ROTFL

      • The Overlord

        Would you like me to point how many glaring grammar blunders you have in your latest post? “I have not got my grammar by mistake in my previous post” should be “I haven’t mistaken my grammar in my previous post.” Seriously? You are really proud of that?

        You need to improve your reading comprehension.
        It says the report did not survey anglophone countries such as Australia or Barbados, nor countries where English has been officially adopted, such as Singapore.

        See? Singapore wasn’t even included. Can you actually be that confident that Malays speak better English than Singaporeans, or even Americans or the British? They were not included in the survey. Hahahaha! English has been an official language of the Philippines for a long time already, so it fits the criteria that countries that adopted English as a language were not included. You need to work on in your English comprehension, buddy. You’re really pitiful.

      • rmshnr

        Once again, you have got the wrong grammatical contentions sent across.

        I will put it to your face, that it should be stringed properly as “I have not got my grammar by mistake in my previous post” and i will reiterate to you, that is a proper English in sentence, by origin from the English isles certainly not from your Philippine isles. Your sentence doesn’t make any sense at all which is a literal direct translation from Tagalog. It spins my head, you knew it !
        I think you ought to hire a native Englishmen from Yorkshire and Midlands to teach you some proper English. The very first thing he will see to it that a nail is driven into your head will be with this phrase to be addressed to you “It is impossible for us, with our limited means, to attempt to educate the body of the people. We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern, a class of persons Tagalog in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.”Shame on your ancestors who taught you English. The Americans will have a better laugh at your either, as your colonial masters, Jim boy. You don’t know what balls you are talking about.

      • The Overlord

        I am very sure your colonial puppetmaster, the Brits are laughing their arses off because of your horrible grammar. Everyone knows American English trumps pseudo-British English everyday. “It spins my head, you knew it”? WTF? What kind of a sentence is that? You ate too much durian perhaps?

        So, do you feel very embarrassed at all because of your link to the past that came back to haunt you? The Philippines was not included because we don’t need to be surveyed. Everyone knows we are the best English speakers in Southeast Asia. Just cry your heart out in envy.

      • CommonSens6

         You grammar and spelling is below kinder level, sir!

      • rmshnr

        Our overall literacy rate in English are anytime better than you Pinoys. Yours are adulterated with Tagalog. You pronounce “lock-nut’ in English as “laknat” 

        Your assertion to challenge our command of grammar, spelling and pronunciation is not negotiable, as much as our sovereignty of Sabah.

        Check whereabouts in Southeast Asia region, the first English school was built ? It was built in a former British East India company colony, in Western Southeast Asia.

  • CommonSens6

    SALAAM ALAIKUM… Peace brother,!  May I suggest you talk to the Sultan of Sulu and Northern Borneo yourself and in person to give him your piece. You’re fighting with the wrong person. I think he’s the one you need to convince to leave home. Have a very nice day!

    • rmshnr

      Malaikumsalam si laknatulah, as far as we are concerned as to your sultan sulu, he is not a sovereign to our eyes…….He is as undesired by Sabahans, as the other illegal immigrants, who made their unchartered journey here. We have no respect nor recognition for him, in order for us to speak to him. Do you want us to speak to dogs and his hounds of puppies like him ? We wont swear allegiance to dogs anyway.

      We want him to sink deep into the sulu sea and a die a bewildered pirate life or be shot dead a terrorist by Pinoy soldiers. 

      • CommonSens6

        And your point is? I absolutely don’t have the resource or capability to make your wish come true. I’m truly sorry… have a nice day, sir!

      • rmshnr

        The point is that Raja Muda Aziemudin who led those Sulu Sultanate Army men is to be caught alive, charged for treason ‘for intrusion into a sovereign territory of Malaysia in the state of Sabah carrying arms, with willful intend of waging war against the King and Emperor of Malaysia’.

        The sentence are nothing less than the mandatory death penalty, by hanging for acts of treason. Some of his men may be acquitted. 

        Please watch him carefully and let the Malaysian judiciary take our legal message to be delivered across to the Philippines. Perhaps, Jamalul Kiram III may get an Interpol warrant posted, to be caught from the Philippines and be extradited to Malaysia to stand trial for the same act of treason.

  • rmshnr

    Raja Muda Aziemudin who led those Sulu Sultanate Army men is to be caught alive, charged for treason in Malaysian High Court ‘for intrusion into a sovereign territory of Malaysia in the state of Sabah carrying arms, with willful intend of waging war against the King and Emperor of Malaysia’. 

    The sentence are nothing less than the mandatory death penalty, to be hanged for acts of treason. Some of his men may be acquitted, serve jail sentences or deported later. 

    Please watch him carefully and let the Malaysian judiciary take our the legal message to be delivered across to the Philippines. Perhaps, Jamalul Kiram III, the asserted illegal sultan may get an Interpol warrant posted, to be caught from the Philippines and be extradited to Malaysia to stand trial for the same act of treason.

  • kilabot

    too little, too late. 
    goodbye framework agreement.

  • The Overlord

    It doesn’t matter if the people of Sabah don’t want to become part of the Philippines. Sabah being part of the federation of Malaysia is illegal in the first place! North Borneo was just leased to the UK then was given to then Malaya. If someone stole your land then people squat on it, and then they decide to have it for themselves, will you agree? The Philippines, by virtue of the transfer of sovereign rights by the Sultan of Sulu in 1962, has all the rights to pursue this claim – a claim that was never withdrawn. Go on, Muslim rebels of the South! Reclaim what is yours! Manila will just enjoy drilling oil in Sabah after you claim it for afterwards! :)

    • rmshnr

      you wont be allowed to stay in Sabah. So what are you talking about drilling oil in Sabah for Philippines? You may continue dreaming, that we will give you oil for free. 

      • The Overlord

        I will never even dream of going to Sabah, much more to a place teeming with Muslims! Yuck! No way! I never even go to Mindanao, where majority of Muslim Filipinos reside. I’m not dreaming that you’ll give us oil for free, actually, I know that you will even beg for that oil from us when we take Sabah away from you, hahaha!

      • rmshnr

        Sabah, for oil – you will take from us ? Dream on. Ask Napoleon, Alexander or Asoka if it will work, by any chances to retake Sabah. 

        We will consume the oil in Sabah for our GDP, and throw those byproduct of petroleum Tar with Feathers to your hungry Pinoy’s face.

      • The Overlord

        Meanwhile, the permanent Filipino residents of Sabah are busy making children so that they’ll overtake the fake Sabahans one of these days hahaha! Too bad you give away Instant Citizenships very easily. :)

      • rmshnr

        Unfortunately, these Filipinos who renounced Filipino citizenship and taken up Malaysian citizenship do no longer swear allegiance to their former motherland. They call themselves Malaysians of Filipino origin.

        Who wants to be part of a poverty ridden and corrupt Philippines, for god sake ?

      • The Overlord

        Quoting as Reply button is disabled for the last post:
        “Unfortunately, these Filipinos who renounced Filipino citizenship and taken up Malaysian citizenship do no longer swear allegiance to their former motherland. They call themselves Malaysians of Filipino origin.
        Who wants to be part of a poverty ridden and corrupt Philippines, for god sake ?”

        Unfortunately for you, there’s this thing called dual citizenship, hahaha! Philippines is poverty-ridden, yes, parts of its, yes. But Malaysia is nowhere near developed status too, haha! I can see poverty all over much of East Malaysia so stop your illusions of being a better-off country. Malaysia is much more corrupt! Just ask Rajib Nazak and all those ICs being given away in exchange for votes!

        Wow, your grammar for this post has dramatically improved! I’m sure you just copy-pasted this somewhere, hahaha! Pathetic.

      • rmshnr

        Philippines is a third world underdeveloped nation. That is the whole point. We are a nation developing rapidly that places us in the 2nd world as Sabah being part of Malaysia.

        Your GDP will never surpass those of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. We are talking about currency exchange rate to factor of more than 10x to catch-up with us. Anyway, Sabah prefers to trade in MYR currency and accepts BND too from neighbouring Brunei but we detest to having anything to do with your pesos in our currency exchange markets in the capital of Sabah. Shamelessly you wanted to contest your development with ours, with a currency factor of below 10x directly linked to GDP ?

        As for my command of English, you never knew me in actual person. Obviously, i have watched you to be the most pathetic commentator from the very start. Don’t try Oxbridge English with me, we will pour boiling pot of oil on you. Go home you Pinoys, dont claim what is ours !

  • The Overlord

    Hilarious! Malaysian keyboard warriors are here ranting in the Inquirer comments section because their state-controlled media refuse to post this news in their websites, hahahaha! I know why: because your PM bribed the Malaysians to vote for him in exchange for news blackout. Too bad the people of West Malaysia are quite ignorant that a part of their country that they thought was theirs is being reclaimed by their rightful owners.

    Ask your government why they keep paying “rent” every year to the descendants of the Sultan of Sulu if it’s so confident that Sabah is clearly part of Malaysia and is not being owned/claimed by another party.

    • rmshnr

      Its not just West Malaysia has administrative right over it. East Malaysian states of Sarawak and Labuan too, jointly administrate it.  

      Mind you that Sarawakian regiment of Malaysian Army have land access into Sabah, thru Sabah-Sarawak borders where it will overrun you guys with full might of Sarawak Rangers Army (whose indigenous Dayak armymen’s hobby are headhunting enemies with pagan art of fervor), in the case of Filipino invaders, whose head will be collected as trophies. If you will fear the Gurkha regiment of the British army based inside Sabah & Brunei, you will also see these battalion of Sarawak Ranger army who will be posing in photographs with Filipino heads chopped-off in the international media. They did that with Indonesian armymen’s head chopped off during confrontation in 1960s, but you people were missed as you’ve never landed ! 
      Filipinos are not the rightful owners to it. It has never happened in the history of mankind. The rightful owner’s to it are the Colonial Office of the British Crown in London. The Japanese who has invaded North Borneo have lawfully surrendered North Borneo to the British Military Administration at the end of WWII under General MacArthurs (US Army), hence ending the company rule and lease of North Borneo Company. Where were your coward Sulus when Sabah was invaded by the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII ? ! They were hiding in their villages when these samurai yielding Japanese men landed on your very shores too. Your first class cowards !

      I will tell you what ? PR China will soon seize Luzon islands as part of China, via South China Seas very soon. I think you people better worry about China occupying Philippines rather than you get access into Sabah.       

      • The Overlord

        Really? If you’re military is really that strong and they want to prevent Filipinos from coming to Sabah, how come there are so many Filipinos living in Sabah? Hahaha! Hilarious. Isn’t it that you give Instant Citizenships just like candy to the Filipinos there just so that they’d vote for the ruling party? Hahaha!

        So you do acknowledge the fact that Muslims such as yourself are as barbaric as what the media reports tell based from your unsourced narratives in the 1980s. That’s not surprising. Muslims are the scourge of the earth anyway. All Muslims are terrorists who follow a pedophile prophet.

        You ask where the Sulu people were during World War II? I don’t know, I haven’t been born yet. You should tell me about it. Don’t confuse me for being related to a Muslim. I never dreamed of being associated with a religion whose aim is to kill other people.

        Thank you for your concern about our lands being grabbed by China, but don’t worry, Pinoys can take you both anytime. :)

      • CommonSens6

         rmshnr, I am absolutely sure you are a unique case and aberration in Malaysia.

  • Rudy Sentosa

    DFA, Good boy! Yes, do your study properly.. If there are any points unclear, don’t hesitate to call Kuala Lumpur for some mentoring. At the end, you’ll see that even Sulu should be the part of Federation of Malaysia.

  • Rudy Sentosa

    I really think the reasons behind for pinoys’ aggressive behavior is the the fact that the Philippines is on her way to become the poorest country in ASEAN. See, all the former members of ASEAN countries are ways ahead of RP right now. So, she resorts to extortion, try frantically to get a share of Sabah’s rich resources. It’s not nice, pinoys.. 

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