Philippines did all it could to prevent Sabah violence—Palace official

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Malaysian police attend to the body of a Filipino gunman who was shot dead in a shootout in Simunul village in Semporna, Sabab, Malaysia, March 4, 2013. AP

MANILA—President Benigno Aquino III’s spokesman said Tuesday the Philippines had done all it could to avoid a violent end to a stand-off in Sabah, as Malaysia launched an assault on Filipino gunmen there.

A total of 27 people have been reported killed in clashes since the followers of Jamalul Kiram III, an heir to the Sultan of Sulu, landed there on February 12 by boat.

“We’ve done everything we could to prevent this, but in the end, Kiram’s people chose this path,” Aquino spokesman Ricky Carandang said of the gunmen, who are claiming the state for a now defunct Filipino Muslim sultanate.

A Malaysian government spokesman in Sabah said Tuesday an operation was underway to clear out the remainder of the gunmen, holed up in the village of Tanduo.

Carandang said Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario remains in Kuala Lumpur for talks with his Malaysian counterpart on the security crisis.

Meanwhile, a Manila spokesman for Kiram, the self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu, said the leader of the gunmen reported to him by telephone that a firefight was underway in Sabah.

“There is nothing to be done about that now,” spokesman Abraham Idjirani said, stressing that the men’s earlier announcement that they will fight to the end remains unchanged.

“We are not intruders. They [Malaysians] are the ones occupying our ancestral land,” he said.

The Sulu sultanate’s power faded about a century ago but it has continued to receive nominal Malaysian payments for Sabah under a lease deal inherited from European colonial powers.

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  • Albert Einstien

    mga POLITIKO PUMUNTA kayo sa SABAH …doon kayo mangampanya..PILIPINAS pa rin yun at mga citizens natin sila…..madaming botante doon…ISAMA nyo na BOUNG AFP at PNP……

    • zeroko

      Dalhin natin ang Team PNoynoying.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EXFI4EUGM23PQ4FMQKLVH36OXI Jose

    The article is right.  Anyone who can’t see that the majority of the blame for this lies with Kiram is either an idiot or a P-Noy hater.

  • 1VeritasAequitas

    Mr. Carandang, hindi po totoong ginawa ninyo ang lahat para maiwasan ang karahasang naganap sa Sabah at ang pinakimportante at very crucial na step ang hindi ninyo ginawa at patuloy na tinatanggihang gawin.  Ito ay ang makipag-usap ang Pangulong Aquino sa Sultan of Sulu, isang bagay na patuloy na hinihiling ng Sultan. Nais ko po itong sabihin bilang isang Pilipino na nagmamahal sa bayan na sana ay tulungan ninyo ang Sultan at mga Tausug na makamit ang katarungan. Sacred duty ito ng Pangulo sa kanyang mga kababayan.  Isa pa po, kung talagang mahal ng Presidente Aquino ang Pilipinas, huwag sana niyang pabayaang mamuhi sa kanya ang mga Pilipino at sa galit ng mga ito sa kanya dahil sa pagkampi niya sa Malaysia at kawalan ng pagtingin at pagnanais tumulong sa mga kababayang Sultan at mga Tausug ay piliin ng mga ito na iboto ang mga kandidato ng UNA na halos lahat, pasintabi na po, ay mga corrupt, at talikuran lahat ang mga senatorial candidates ninyo na karamihan katulad ni Hontiveros, Madrigal, at iba pa ay may mabuting pagkatao at pagmamahal sa bayan.  Huwag po sana ninyong i-push ang mga tao against the wall kung saan wala na silang option kung hindi ang itakwil kayo at ang mga ini-endorso ninyo.  Sana naman ang mga botante ay ihalal ang mga matitinong independent candidates tulad ni Edward Hagedorn at iba pa kung talagang disenchanted sila sa mga kandidato ng Presidente. Presidente Aquino, iligtas ninyo po sana ang Pilipinas.

    • Vin

      This is what I am saying to my wife, better choose from the independent candidates than choosing between LP and UNA

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