MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago says the sultanate of Sulu should first disclose its “true intentions” in its audacious attempt to retake Sabah—either to expand the territory of the Philippines or merely line the pockets of the royal family with money from higher compensation—before President Aquino can commit the country’s “meager” military resources to its territorial claim.
“I think the President’s priorities are correct in proceeding gingerly with the Sabah situation. This is a potentially explosive situation, we need it like we need a hole in the head,” Santiato said in a phone interview with the Inquirer on Sunday.
“The sultanate of Sulu must first answer the primordial question: For whom is it reclaiming Sabah? Is it for personal or family reasons or on behalf of all Filipinos?” she said.
“We must not take any military position in a boundary dispute between two states just because of one family which happens to be Filipino,” she said.
“I believe the [sultan] must stand down or he is on his own. He will have to answer for [the] consequences of his actions. We cannot harbor rogue individuals or this will be considered an act of provocation by Malaysia,” she said.
Santiago pointed out that the sultanate of Sulu took action “clearly” on its own without consulting or advising the President.