News Flash

September 01, 2015, Tuesday
  • Ombudsman Morales says she’ll decide in 1 month if a case may be filed vs. Abad & other gov’t ofcls. over DAP. about 1 hour ago |
  • Ombudsman Morales reveals she has started a probe on the role of Pres. Aquino, DBM Sec. Abad & other gov’t officials on DAP. about 1 hour ago |
  • MMDA collects at least 10-truckloads of trash from EDSA-Shaw Boulevard following INC’s rally in the area. 2 hours ago |
  • One Dream Pres. Arnel Gacer fails to show up at DOJ preliminary investigation on syndicated estafa case filed against him. 2 hours ago |
  • Coloma says the Ombudsman may launch a probe into any issue like DAP but the President is immune from any suit. 2 hours ago |
  • Atty. Renato Bondal says P 127M in professional fees alone was paid by PHEI to STI from 2006 to 2015. 2 hours ago |
  • Lawyer Renato Bondal says the Phil. Health Educators (PHEI) was established in 2003 to take money from Makati’s school system. 2 hours ago |
  • Lawyer Renato Bondal sues VP Binay & Makati Mayor Binay for alleged anomalous deal between University of Makati (UMak) & STI. 2 hours ago |
  • Atty. Renato Bondal files plunder & graft charges vs. VP Jejomar Binay & suspended Makati Mayor “Junjun” Binay. 2 hours ago |
  • Pro-environment group holds protest at Japanese Embassy in Pasay City to condemn massive dolphin-hunting in Japan. 4 hours ago |
  • Local gov’t offers P 50K reward for the arrest of the killers of a 10-year-old girl in Tanay, Rizal. 4 hours ago |
  • Thousands of fishermen expected to troop to Luneta on Wednesday to protest the amended Fisheries Code. 4 hours ago |
  • Ombudsman to file a motion for reconsideration at SC after it granted Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s petition to post bail. 4 hours ago |
  • Weather forecasters say about two to four storms will hit PH in September. 5 hours ago |
  • Maynilad & Manila Water warn of water supply interruptions in some areas in NCR with the onset of El Nino. 5 hours ago |
  • Some fishermen complain the Amended Fisheries Code contains too many restrictions. 5 hours ago |
  • Comelec reminds OFWs that the deadline for their registration is on October 12. 5 hours ago |
  • Comelec lengthens voter registration days from Monday to Saturday and on holidays. 5 hours ago |
  • 12-year-old girl dies in fire that hit their home in Sitio Masikap, Quezon. 5 hours ago |
  • Search on for mountaineer swept away by strong waves while crossing a creek in San Jose, Tarlac. 5 hours ago |
  • Landslide hits Villaviciosa town in Abra forcing at least 166 families to flee their homes. 5 hours ago |
  • Expelled INC Min. Isaias Samson Jr. asks gov’t what deal it struck with INC that supposedly ended its 5-day rally. 5 hours ago |
  • Justice Sec. Leila de Lima back at work at DOJ and says she has no plans of resigning. 5 hours ago |
  • CBCP calls on Catholics not to support same-sex marriage. 21 hours ago |
  • 5 mountaineers drown in Nagsasa Creek in San Jose, Tarlac on Monday afternoon. 21 hours ago |
  • Phivolcs records 5 tremors in areas in Southern Mindanao. 21 hours ago |
  • Petron to implement a P 2.25/kilo rollback on the price of LPG on Tuesday. 21 hours ago |
  • Sandiganbayan issues hold departure orders vs. Fmr. Agusan Del Sur Rep. Rodolfo Plaza & 7 others linked to pork barrel scam. 21 hours ago |
  • Binay’s camp claims De Lima is prioritizing political ambition over the resolution of PDAF and SAF 44 cases. 21 hours ago |
  • Binay’s camp calls on Justice Sec. Leila de Lima to resign. 22 hours ago |
  • DILG Sec. Mar Roxas says gov’t & INC leaders have been in contact with one another since the beginning of the rally at DOJ. 22 hours ago |
  • Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda says INC’s protest peacefully ended through goodwill and convergence of efforts. 22 hours ago |
  • Deputy Pres’l Spokesperson Abigail Valte says talks between gov’t & INC centered on clarification of issues & concerns. 22 hours ago |
  • Palace says there has been no deal made between gov’t and Iglesia ni Cristo. 22 hours ago |

Mishandling the Sabah issue

By Emil Jurado | Mar. 05, 2013 at 12:01am
There appears to be a consensus among analysts and observers of the Sabah dispute after followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III occupied a village called Lahad Datu in Sabah and after some have died in firefight.  The Aquino administration indeed committed a series of blunders.

Let’s rewind a bit. The sultan felt snubbed in the signing of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement, which the administration touted as the key to achieving peace in Mindanao.  In fact the Sultan claimed he had sent not one but three letters to Malacañang where he expressed his desire to be consulted on the peace issue. President Aquino said the letters must have been lost in the bureaucratic maze.

What a lame excuse. Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa serves as some kind of a Grand Central Station where all letters to the President pass through. Palace insiders however say that Ochoa indeed received the letters but he passed them through Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles.  I cannot confirm this, but I am told that Deles decided not to let the President know about it.  She kept the letter, believing it would have no impact on the peace process.

Mr. Aquino reportedly berated Deles when he learned about what happened.  A bureaucrat with delicadeza would have resigned – Deles obviously does not have it.

Thus the Sultan, perhaps thinking that it occupying a village in Sabah is the only way for the government to acknowledge its rights, decided to send 200 of his followers to the disputed territory. There are 800,000 Filipino Muslims who have, legally or otherwise, made Sabah their home.

Instead of being sensitive to the Sultan’s claim and to the plight of Filipinos in Sabah who were being threatened by Malaysian police, President Aquino went on television, flanked by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, warning Kiram that he and his men could face charges for constitutional violations. He told them to come home.

But the Sultan says Sabah is home.

Don’t threaten Tausogs with arrest or criminal charges.  They are very proud, like Maguindanaoans and Maranaws.

The stance taken by Malacañang made it look like it was siding with Malaysia.

Who are advising President Aquino? It looks like he was not aware of the implications of events. Analysts say the issue is not just legal.

What is the bottom line of the dispute? Historic and documentary evidence of ownership by the Sulu Sultanate over Sabah is clear and unmistakable. This is why Malaysia refuses to bring the matter to the International Court of Justice, or the United Nations.

In 1704, the Sultan of Brunei sought support from the Sultan of Sulu to quell a rebellion in Brunei. In gratitude, the Sultan of Brunei gave North Borneo, as Sabah was called then, to the Sultan of Sulu. In 1874 or 174 years later, Baron Von de Overbeck leased North Borneo from the Sultan of  Sulu for 5,300 Mexican pieces of gold a year. Overbeck created the British North Borneo Co., a chartered company by Great Britain. After the death of Sultan Jamalul Kiram in 1936, the British company stopped the leased payments, but a Session Court in North Borneo ordered resumption of payment.

When North Borneo was renamed Sabah, despite objections of the Philippine government, Sabah became part of the Federation of Malaysia.

When the Federation of Malaysia was created in 1963, Malaysia converted the stipulated rental payment into Malaysian ringgit (now equivalent to P77,000) but not the equivalent of 5,300 pieces of Mexican gold. And this is where the core of the dispute lies. The lease agreement used the word “padjak.” After 85 years of paying rent to the Sultanate of Sulu since 1878, Malaysia in 1963 conveniently misinterpreted the word “padjak” to mean cession or sale. The Sulu Sultanate insists “padjak” means rent, and that it is not a sale.  And why does Malaysia continue to pay rent to the Sulu Sultanate? Malaysia’s position is untenable.

As a lawyer, I  know that a sale needs a specific price. Thus, the continuous indefinite annual payment of P77,000 by Malaysia to the Sultanate cannot by any stretch of the imagination be a definite sale by any legal definition.

This leads me to ask: Didn’t the legal advisers of President Aquino ever consider the legal implications of the Sabah claims? Obviously not since that would rock the boat in our political and economic relations with Malaysia, especially now that Malaysia is brokering the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement.

What is clear is that President Aquino deemed our relations with Malaysia more important than the Sultanate of Sulu.

The President threatened to arrest and charge Kiram and his followers. That does not make sense. Why didn’t Malacañang organize a special task force to attend to the dispute? Who appears anti-Filipino now?

I have been told that even Christians in Mindanao are sympathizing with the Sultanate of Sulu.

“Honor is above life,” the Sultan said. I hope I am wrong on this, but I fear this will have a negative impact on the peace process in Mindanao and our relations with Malaysia.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Comments are views by readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with editorial standards, may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section
comments powered by Disqus

Want Updates?

Be the first to know on what is latest from, simply enter your email below to get started. We don’t spam dont worry!