Kiram defies Aquino order to leave Sabah

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Filipino Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III, left, listens to a supporter at his house at Maharlika village in Taguig City on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA—The heirs of the sultan of Sulu and their followers are not going to leave Sabah despite a stern warning from President Aquino, a spokesman said.

Abraham Idjirani, secretary general and spokesperson of the heirs to the sultanate, said Sultan Jamalul Kiram III was willing to be arrested if the Aquino government decides to file a case against the chieftain.

But Idjirani stressed that the “royal forces” of Kiram did not intend to trigger a war when they started occupying the village of Tanduao in Lahad Datu on Feb. 9.

“What we need now is a mutual understanding,” Idjirani said in a press briefing at Kiram’s house in Taguig City.

“We welcome the statement of the President. It’s a development on the right track,” he added.

He said the decision of Kiram’s followers to stay in Sabah “is not a hardline stance.”

Kiram himself issued a statement later saying his armed followers did not break any laws when they occupied a village in Sabah on Feb. 9.

Reacting to President Aquino’s statement, Kiram said, “Mr. President, what more proof do you want us to show that Sabah is ours?”

“As far as we are concerned, we haven’t committed a crime…. The sultan of Sulu’s action is a benevolent aspiration and not a violent reaction to fight,” Kiram said in the statement read by his daughter Princess Jacel Kiram.

The President on Tuesday called on Kiram III to stand down and order his followers to come home “as soon as possible,” warning of “consequences of your actions” should they continue to refuse to leave Lahad Datu in Sabah.

Mr. Aquino issued the call in a televised address at an early morning press conference in Malacañang before flying to Cagayan de Oro City, where he was to campaign for Team PNoy.

Point of no return…

“We have not yet reached the point of no return, but we are fast approaching that point,” said the President, apparently referring to the 48-hour extended deadline imposed by Malaysian authorities for the group led by Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, brother of the sultan, to leave the village of Tanduao.

The deadline was to expire Tuesday.

“This is a situation that can’t persist,” the President noted, in effect, saying if the situation turned bloody, the sultan had only himself to blame.

“My duty is very clear: it is to protect the interests of all of our people, and if that is not possible, then to do what will redound to the interests of the greatest majority. This is the time to demonstrate that you are a true leader both in name and deed. The right thing to do now would be to order your followers to return home as soon as possible. The choices and consequences are yours. If you choose not to cooperate, the full force of the laws of the state will be used to achieve justice for all who have been put in harm’s way,” said the President.

Mr. Aquino last week said that guns would never resolve the Sabah claim of the sultanate of Sulu.

This time, the President appealed for calm after Raja Muda told Radyo Inquirer 990 AM on Monday that the standoff with Malaysian authorities was a “do or die” situation, and that the sultanate’s “Royal Security Force” would not leave Sabah “until the issue is resolved.”

The President had this piece of advice for Jamalul and his clan that insist on historical rights over Sabah.

“The avenue of peaceful and open dialogue is still available to us. Let us therefore sit down as brothers to address your grievances in a peaceful, calm manner according to our laws and according to correct processes when your people arrive home,” said the President.

“What is clear is that a peaceful resolution of this issue is to everybody’s interest. Even if we assume, for the sake of argument, that there are legitimate grievances, the presence of an armed group in Lahad Datu will only bring us further away from resolving these issues,” said Mr. Aquino.

Renouncing war as a policy

Despite his appeal to the sultan and his followers, Mr. Aquino said they could face charges under Philippine laws for choosing to pursue their claim to Sabah using arms.

In fact, the President had already ordered Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to launch an investigation.

Besides De Lima, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang, and Undersecretaries Abigail Valte and Manolo Quezon III also turned up at the Palace press conference.

“As President and chief executor of our laws, I have tasked an investigation into possible violations of laws by you, your followers, and collaborators engaged in this foolhardy act,” he said, reminding the sultan that war had never been an instrument of the country in pressing for any of its territorial claims with neighboring countries.

“May I remind you as well that as a citizen of the republic, you are bound by the constitution and its laws. Among your possible violations is Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, which states that the Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, the enabling law of which is Article 118 of the Revised Penal Code, which punishes those who “provoke or give occasion for a war…or expose Filipino citizens to reprisals on their persons or property.”[1] Thus, you are now fully aware of the consequences of your actions,” said the President.

As to whether criminal cases would be filed against the ailing sultan, Lacierda volunteered this interpretation.

“We will talk to them if they cooperate. If they don’t’ cooperate, the Department of Justice will talk to them based on the speech (of the President),” said Lacierda.

Appeal to ‘leader of clan’

“And so this is my appeal to you: These are your people, and it behooves you to recall them. It must be clear to you that this small group of people will not succeed in addressing your grievances, and that there is no way that force can achieve your aims,” said Mr. Aquino.

“You are a leader of your clan, and every leader seeks the well-being of his constituents. These times require you to use your influence to prevail on our countrymen to desist from this hopeless cause,” the President added.

According to the President, the action of Jamalul’s followers not only endangered their own lives but also had wide implications for Filipinos living in Sabah.

“They also put at risk our countrymen peacefully engaged in their livelihood in Sabah. These are hundreds of thousands of individuals. Their families, dependent on their wages, are likewise being made to suffer. Filipinos residing in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, who trade with Sabah, have had their commerce disrupted.

“ Most of these people are your fellow Muslims. This is a situation that cannot persist. If you are truly the leader of your people, you should be one with us in ordering your followers to return home peacefully,” said Mr. Aquino.

Malaysian ‘challenge’

He reminded Jamalul that sending “approximately” 180 people, 20 to 30 of whom are armed, to Sabah “would only bring us further away from resolving these issues.”

“Having an armed group in Lahad Datu presents a challenge that the Malaysian authorities cannot ignore,” said the President, but added that from the outset of this incident, “our primary consideration has always been to protect all lives. Secretary del Rosario had already reached an agreement with Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah that this issue should be resolved in a peaceful manner.”

Mr. Aquino disclosed that Philippine armed forces and police have been actively communicating with their Malaysian counterparts “to peacefully resolve the situation,” while other agencies of government have also been tasked to prepare for any contingencies that could potentially affect Filipino citizens in Malaysia.

“Apart from this, we have also sent a number of emissaries to the Kiram family to ask them to convince the group in Lahad Datu to return home peacefully. In fact, there is a humanitarian ship with social workers and medical officers on board nearby to facilitate the peaceful departure of those in Lahad Datu,” said Mr. Aquino.

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  • Lopez_Chaena

    Malaysia is in a no win situation.

    If they attack and slaughter Kiram, this will trigger a never ending war with the Sultan of Sulu. There are thousands of followers of the Sultan residing in Sabah. These will all become rebels.

    If they do nothing, it would be an acceptance of the rightful claim of the Sultan of Sulu.

    • Platypus09

      They will strike for all legitimate reasons.

      They don’t care who this Sultan.

      As far as they are concerned, he is encroaching boundaries. He is illegal.

      He made an illegal turn, he is dead already.

    • Matambaka

       Yes. A never ending war if a blood is spilled from our Muslim / Tausug brothers.

      Possible scenario:

      A daily kidnapping of tourist from Malaysian beaches? A frequent bombing on their oil rig and other installations? Frequent violence on their coastal towns etc..

      A big headache to Malaysia.

      • rmshnr

        Malaysian airforce fighter jets will flush you pirates for good with napalm.

      • boypalaban

         and you will be flushed in a toilet bowl…congrats…

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q6UHKC43FYFDBCZ2T44ZKDPYA4 Cabal

        A few napalms would ought to do it. Can be dropped from attack helicopters too.

      • Arcane

        Napalms wouldn’t cut it if you drop them in the cities where there are many innocent people around. If you think that the Royal armies have been completely surrounded by your Malaysian forces, think again.

        These people are hardened fighters with decades of experience in guerilla warfare. Do you honestly believe that these people decided to hold up in one location and be easy prey? Hahahahaha. Dream on.

        Malaysia has to handle this situation very carefully. There was a secret document leaked by Wikileaks a few years back of a certain Malaysian government official expressing his fear that if the MILF obtains a Bangsamorro state that they might try to reclaim Sabah back. I guess his fear has now been realized. I could try to find the document for you if you want it.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q6UHKC43FYFDBCZ2T44ZKDPYA4 Cabal

        Not really, what Malaysia can do is to expel every single philipinos from sabah,literally meaning the entire family back to mindanao. Install more radar in coastal area of sabah to monitor any boats coming in, assign more patrol boats, helicopters and surveillance maritime planes. Any dark skinned philipinos spotted inland of sabah will be shot on sight, just like how cockcroaches should be treated. More money will be spend by the malaysians on these but it will be well worth it. Then philiphines will have to feed, provide jobs and homes for those expelled mindanao people with money that it doesn’t have.  

      • Arcane

        I was reading Cabal’s comments and couldn’t help but laugh at his bullsh*t.

        “Any dark skinned philipinos spotted inland of sabah will be shot on sight?” Hahahaha. This guy’s dreaming.

  • TEAM PNOY

    We need a LEE KWAN YEW to solve this Sabah problem.

    • rmshnr

      Mind you that Lee Kuan Yew was ex-Malaysian. His country was a part of the Straits Settlements Colony, to which the larger pieces of cake remains with Malaysia.

      • TEAM PNOY

        Yes, a person like Lee Kuan Yew who can stand his principle against Malaysia and build Singapore in what it is today. BTW, what is your legal title to Sabah aside from being a landgrabber? You quack like a british, you act like a british, but you are not a british by your looks. hahaha. A Sabah monkey trying to act and quack like a british.

      • sunan_kinabalu

        No my friend. The only nation in SEA that succumbed to their colonial’s identity is the Philippines. You talk in English with spanish accents and turned almost all your places and names into something “spaniards”. Reread your history and you’ll find nothing “pinoy” about it. Laguna Copper plate?? “Laguna” <— Spaniard's History? Cobato del sur? Cagayan De Oro? SPANIARDS WANNABES? LOL. 

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q6UHKC43FYFDBCZ2T44ZKDPYA4 Cabal

        Correct , philipines is the only country in the entire SEA that do not have a spine. It is just like a poodle begging it’s master the US for bits of tiny bones and wag the tail in delight after that. They lack self identity and confidence, bragging till the mouths foaming and do absolutely nothing. Giving every impression to foreigners to look down on them.

      • Arcane

        Speaking of spine, Malaysians were the only people in Southeast Asia who didn’t fight the invading Japanese. They cowered behind their British masters when the guns started flying. No wonder their country was conquered by the Emperial Army of  Japan within a few days, giving the Japanese general who led the invasion the title of “The Tiger of Malaya.” What a bunch of wussies. I bet you those Malaysian forces surrounding the Royal Army of Sulu are just like their ancestors — a bunch of wussies.

      • TEAM PNOY

        Who u?

      • Arcane

        They also have state-sanction discrimination laws against non-bumiputras. So, those Chinese and Indian Malaysians whose ancestors actually helped built Malaysia to what it is today are at a great disadvantage in many affairs. Like they offer financial support to bumi university students, but Chinese/Indian Malaysians have to support for themselves. And for every estate, their law requires that a mosque be built, but churches and Indian temples were systematically destroyed by the bumi Muslims, secretly supported by the Malaysian government. What an ungrateful bunch of people.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q6UHKC43FYFDBCZ2T44ZKDPYA4 Cabal

      US do not want to be a part of this, maybe Malaysia should ask China to assist it.

  • DakuAkongUtin

    The dead StrongMan Marcos dubbed as the maharlikan warrior tried his best  to take Sabah but was cut short  by influencing outside forces at the time during his presidency.  50 years after the fact these influencing factors are still very much in placed and in power. 

    The son Aquino , following the footsteps of his father, is continueing that tradition in preventing the Tausugs from claiming their ancestral land of Sabah. 
    He will be remembered as such. So another Aquino coming for higher office, you know their take on Sabah.
    For Sabah is part and parcel of the Sulu People ‘s identity , It will never go away and they will continue to take the steps to reclaim their land taken by the Malayos. The same struggles the Jews did for thousands of years after their diapora into Europe and all of middle east. They came home and STate of Israel was formed in 1948.

    Likewise the Proud People of Sulu Archipelago will continue their quest to reclaim Sabah as part of their identity as a free people in these parts of Southern Pinas for millenia.

    Mabuhay kayo mga Tausugs !! Fight for Sabah the land of your ancestors , the Land you have rightful claim. Demand return of Sabah . The word is spreading all over the world , thanks to modern mean s of communication. Let these thieves come out in the open and face the truth.
    But these agents of Shaytans are sophisticated as ever and thus we will trust in Alllah to guide us and protect. But Allah the Merciful and All Knowing will make his truth shine like the morning sun in due time.

    Insha Allah !

    • Platypus09

      The Tausogs will remain nomads on this side of the world.

      They sold the Sultanate, leased in disguise.

      It’s the same thing.

      • giltor

        Yeah right!!!

      • Platypus09

        Your man is grilled as we speak..

      • Matambaka

         What happened? Sabah Police cant contain the situation?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q6UHKC43FYFDBCZ2T44ZKDPYA4 Cabal

        Starving them to weaken their will and body first, then go in with the full cavalry.

      • Arcane

        Cabal is a funny guy. Those Royal armies know jungle warfare. They know how to survive in the jungle. This guy thinks they need to buy food from the groceries or order food at the restaurant in order to survive. Hahahaha. I’m so laughing at all his comments.

        Obviously, Cabal doesn’t know what they’re up against to. He’s completely in the cloud. But it’s a good thing. When your enemy underestimates you, that itself is your advantage.

    • antonioluna

       bago ka magsalita ng kung anu ano ayusin mo muna ang problema sa loob ng religion nyo kung saan wala kayong galang sa mga kababaihan nyo, ipokrito

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q6UHKC43FYFDBCZ2T44ZKDPYA4 Cabal

      Philiphine is such a hypocrite, Mindanao people demand independence for their homeland yet philiphine refuse till this very day.

  • giltor

    Greater surprises in store for you.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VS5EYSP4FPOTVQCJZ24NRE6Z2M Edgardo Mendoza

    MARCOS IS REAL PRESIDENT HE SAY SABAH IS ARE PART PHILIPPINES

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q6UHKC43FYFDBCZ2T44ZKDPYA4 Cabal

      In 1978, Marcos verbally renounced sabah claim during the ASEAN summit in Bangkok.

  • sunan_kinabalu

    All I can say for now is PNoy stands no chance in reclaiming Sabah. It is a paradox. The best win-win solution for now is to make Malaysia your best friend if you want to develop your South peacefully, productively and healthily. You gain more by befriending Malaysia than pursuing your paradoxical claim. You cannot develop your South with Malaysia creating nuisance and “pirates” of their own to make your life miserable. You kidnap our tourists, we kidnap your tourists. You bomb our facilities, our “pirates” will bomb your facilities. Well, you do the math.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q6UHKC43FYFDBCZ2T44ZKDPYA4 Cabal

      Won’t matter, even if all philiphinos scream their lungs out, the three million inhabitants of sabah will just ignore them, sabah people will never allow themselves to be enslaved by a self-proclaimed pirate sultan. 

  • rajah_sulaiman

    Why worry with our ties in Malaysia???
    Malaysia keep us at war with each other and divided  us  as a Nation. They  are  the rebellion financiers for the  war in Mindanao supporting the MNLF,MILF for decades now against the Philippine government. Admittedly, this is not unknown to Malaysian citizens. Ask the elders from Mindanao and they will tell you the same thing. Ask yourself how come the  MNLF,MILF has made an army of their own , so powerful, so self sufficient and acquired so much high powered guns???. This  despite the heavy bombings and war waged against these militants and the Philippine government. In truth, Armaments coming from  Libya pass through Malaysia to Sabah then to SULU… Now realizing what they have done. Malaysians  brokered in Peace and they become our instant heroes????? My call to clueless leaders coming from Luzon…study the political situation in the south before jumping into conclusion…..

  • submitter

    God remind Muslims not to repeat the ways of Children of Israel. (Quran 5:32)

    Kiram and his followers followed the path of the evil jews. Taking out lives at ease and declare Sulu as an unbeaten race in Asean. Indeed that was the act of Children of Israel in the past. They believe they are the exalted race and kill at their own will, thus abandoning laws of God.

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