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DOJ chief submits Sabah study to Aquino

/ 04:06 AM March 26, 2013

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima. INQUIRER/Niño Jesus Orbeta

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday said she had firmed up a government position on the Philippine claim to Sabah and had submitted it to President Benigno Aquino III.

De Lima declined to elaborate on the Department of Justice study made on orders of the President.

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“It’s a confidential study and I need to get clearance from the President if that can be shared to the public,” De Lima told reporters. She said the study was sent to the Palace on Friday.

President’s prerogative

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President Aquino ordered De Lima, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office to study the legal and historical aspects of the Sabah claim following the incursion into the area of the sultan of Sulu’s armed followers.

“It remains the prerogative of the President whether to consider or not such study, or to adopt the same, if at all,” De Lima said.

“The main questions [were]: Is the claim strong or not and should it be pursued before an appropriate tribunal, and what are the options in light of the current situation?” she said.

Possible financiers

De Lima also said she had received a report on the results of the joint investigation conducted by the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and Criminal Investigative and Detection Group on the circumstances surrounding the sending of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III’s followers to Sabah, including their possible financiers.

She declined to give details “until we file cases on certain personalities who may be found involved.” Christine O. Avendaño

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Department of Justice, Leila de Lima, Paquito Ochoa Jr., Philippine claim, Sabah, Sabah Crisis
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