MANILA, Philippines—Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and members of his family will not attend the investigation of the National Bureau of Investigation into the Sabah crisis despite the summons sent by the bureau, political strategist Pastor “Boy” Saycon said Tuesday.
Saycon, who acts as Kiram’s adviser on the Sabah issue, said NBI director Nonatus Caesar Rojas and NBI deputy director Rey Esmeralda agreed to just let Abaraham Idjirani, the sultanate’s secretary general, attend the probe and speak for the family.
Saycon, secretary general of the Council for Philippine Affairs, said the NBI recalled the subpoena that the bureau issued for Kiram, his wife Princess Fatima Celia, their daughter Princess Jacel and Idjirani.
The summons was served Tuesday by four NBI agents at the Kiram’s residence in Maharlika Village, Taguig City at around 3 p.m.
“Apparently there was a communication in the NBI because another director signed the subpoena and not Director Rojas. The NBI agents returned to retrieve the subpoenas,” Saycon told reporters.
He said he himself proposed the arrangement to Esmeralda “because we don’t want to disrespect the old man (Kiram)” when Saycon appeared at the NBI on Tuesday.
“How can we find a peaceful way to resolve this issue if we summon (Kiram) like a common criminal? (Kiram) will be slighted by that,” Saycon said in a news briefing in Kiram’s house.
“So I urged them to let the secretary general go to the NBI in behalf of the family. Anyway, Idjirani knows everything about this issue. They (Rojas and Esmeralda) both agreed,” he said.
If the NBI insisted on summoning Kiram and his family, he said “there will only be more hatred and pride will take over. Then we cannot resolve this.”
Saycon said Kiram was very upset when the NBI agents came to his house.
“He felt offended,” Saycon said. “It takes diplomacy to resolve this. There should be compassion.”
Celia and Idjirani calmly received the subpoena brought by two agents for them and Jacel. A few minutes later, two other NBI agents arrived and served the summons for Kiram.
“We welcome these subpoenas. I would have wanted the NBI hearing to be open to the media,” a smiling Celia told reporters.
She maintained that her husband and the Kiram clan did not violate the law when members of the “royal security forces” sailed to Sabah on February 9 and occupied Tanduao village in Lahad Datu town.
“I never expected that we will be summoned. What do they mean by collaboration? Where’s the conspiracy?” she said.
Nonetheless, he said the NBI investigation would be an opportunity for the family to “shed light on the Sabah incident.”
“We can educate them on the Sabah issue. If they want, I can give them a PowerPoint presentation … so that they will be enlightened on this,” she said.
“We did not commit any crime. We are just telling the truth.”