‘Royal army’ existence first monitored in 2001 – nat’l security adviser
MANILA, Philippines—The existence of the “royal army” of the Sultanate of Sulu was first monitored by intelligence units in 2001 and was seemingly a “harmless” group during that time, National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia said Tuesday.
In an interview with Radyo Inquirer 990AM, Garcia said initial reports on Sultan Jamalul Kiram III Royal Security Forces revealed that the group held trainings but did not carry firearms. He said it was just like “a group trying to make a statement.”
“Parang harmless naman sila,” Garcia said, noting that Kiram III even ran for a senatorial seat under Team Unity in the 2007 elections.
However, Garcia said that the group went off the intelligence radar in 2005, but it apparently remobilized after “the group didn’t feel that they were given enough participation and role in the framework agreement” between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
For the full interview, listen to the attached audio clip from Radyo Inquirer 990AM. Jamie Marie Elona