In ignoring Sultan Kiram, President Noynoy Aquino did treat him as a terrorist

In a press conference, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte insisted that Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary, Albert del Rosario did not call Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram III and his men terrorists.

noynoy_aquino_sabah

The problem with Valte’s statement is that, first, it is coming from someone who has lost much of her credibility. Most, if not all, of President Benigno Simeon Aquino’s spokespersons have been known to be good at spinning or stretching the meaning behind what has been said in the past. Valte wasn’t even present in the meeting Del Rosario had with Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, so how sure is she that Del Rosario did not really use the term “terrorists” in referring to Kiram’s men in Sabah?

The second problem with Valte’s statement is that, after Del Rosario’s meeting with Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, there has been an increase in the use of the term “terrorists” in news reports when referring to the Sultan’s men particularly in Malaysian or international publications. Likewise, the Malaysian military seems to have been given a green light to treat them as such.

Prior to Del Rosario’s meeting with Aman, Sultan’s men where either referred to as “armed men”, “royal military”, “Sultan’s followers”, “members of armed clan” or “Filipino freedom fighters” but they were hardly ever called “terrorists” at all. It was also after that meeting when Malaysian authorities started using fighter jets to bomb parts of Sabah to “weed out” Kiram’s followers – a sign that the Malaysian government is not going to bother with any dialogue or negotiations because they assume they are dealing with “terrorists”.

The term terrorist or terrorists refer to a person or group of people who uses or advocates the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce others to get their way. As far as the available information goes, Kiram’s group of armed men who trooped to Sabah did not terrorise or use any violence or threats against innocent civilians before and even after the first shots were fired. At this point, there is still a debate on who fired the first shot.

Considering Kiram’s followers did nothing but occupy an area in Lahad Datu for three weeks before the standoff turned deadly, the Aquino government should have simply referred to them as members of the “occupy movement”. And since the Sulu sultanate once controlled parts of Borneo, including the site of the standoff, and since Kiram’s heirs have been receiving compensation from Malaysia under a long-standing agreement for possession of Sabah, they are far from being “terrorists”.

But in calling the group in Sabah terrorists, the Aquino administration has not only given the Malaysian government the green light to use excessive force to stamp out Kiram’s group, it also put an end to any hope of peaceful negotiations with them.

President BS Aquino is fully aware of Sultan Kiram’s whereabouts. He is not even in hiding. Would a terrorist hold a press conference? The answer is no. Kiram currently resides in Taguig, Manila. That is only a few kilometers away from Malacanang. It’s a mind boggling exercise to consider the question of why President BS Aquino hadn’t spoken to him in person. Does the President see himself as above talking to Kiram? Considering that the casualties in the fire fights keep going up and how Philippine-Malaysian relations continue to deteriorate, we wonder: Why can’t BS Aquino go out of his comfort zone, make an exception in this case, and talk to Kiram man-to-man? Oh that’s right. President BS Aquino has been busy campaigning for Team PNoy out of town for the May mid-term elections and considers it more important than saving lives and maintaining peace and order.

Whether or not Del Rosario did label Kiram and his men terrorists is less important than the shameful way President BS Aquino has been dealing with them. It has been apparent to most Filipinos that President BS Aquino and his cabinet members have been treating them as terrorists from the very start. This is evident in the fact that President BS Aquino’s government ignored not just one, but three formal letters of appeal from Sultan Kiram asking for an audience from the head of state to discuss the peace deal in Mindanao – a sign that BS Aquino’s government did not want to bother with any dialogue or negotiations with the Sultan of Sulu probably because they either thought that Kiram was insignificant and did not see him playing a pivotal role in the peace deal with the separatist movements in Mindanao or, worse, they already considered him a terrorist from the very beginning.

We all know that most governments have a policy of not negotiating with terrorists. That makes deputy spokesperson Valte’s assertion that the government does not consider Kiram a “terrorist” quite incredible. Valte does indeed have a credibility problem.

[Photo courtesy New Straits Times.]

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Post Author: Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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46 Comments on "In ignoring Sultan Kiram, President Noynoy Aquino did treat him as a terrorist"

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vince
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AFAIK the label terrorist was first used by the malaysians and the philippine govt only agreed

vince
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“As far as the available information goes, Kiram’s group of armed men who trooped to Sabah did not terrorise or use any violence or threats against innocent civilians before and even after the first shots were fired. ”

and is it really the correct definition of a terrorist to only include attacks on civilians? attacks on police and military are under certain circumstances also considered terrorist acts diba?

Johnny Saint
Guest
I think you are missing the point. There is no dispute regarding the definition of “terrorist” or “terrorism.” The situation was originally designated by the Malaysian authorities as a “peace and order” situation to be handled by the police with the military in “support roles.” Now that the failures of both the Philippine and Malaysian governments to resolve the issue peacefully have resulted in the deaths of Malay policemen and Tausug warriors, the label “terrorist” is being thrown out there as an excuse to authorize the use of excessive force. That is an act born out of panic and cowardice… Read more »
reyes
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If the Philippines and Malaysia take their claim over Sabah to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Malaysia would win the case based on two reasons – the right to self determination and the continued administration of the disputed territory. The Sulu Sultanate does not have a legal standing to claim Sabah because they do not have a nation of their own. Sulu is part of modern day Philippines. Bar Council’s constitutional law committee chairman Syahredzan Johan said Sabahans had used their right to self determination and their choice was documented in the findings of the Cobbold Commission 1962. In… Read more »
Johnny Saint
Guest
In the case of Malaysia versus Indonesia over the Sipadan and Ligitan islands, the International Court of Justice ruled that Sabah has sovereignty over the contested islands by virtue of an old legislation regulating the collection of turtle eggs ordained by the former British colonial government. In that incident the Philippines applied to intervene as a third party in the proceedings but was disallowed because both Malaysia and Indonesia objected to it. Why? It’s likely that both Malaysia and Indonesia will go home empty-handed because the Philippines can and will be able to establish a case for sovereignty on Sabah… Read more »
Johnny Saint
Guest
“…BS Aquino’s government did not want to bother with any dialogue or negotiations with the Sultan of Sulu probably because they either thought that Kiram was insignificant and did not see him playing a pivotal role in the peace deal with the separatist movements in Mindanao…” There’s also the Gloria Arroyo angle. Jamalul Kiram III ran (unsuccessfully) for senator under GMA’s TEAM Unity in the 2007 elections. Therefore they attempt to promote a scenario where personalities associated with Arroyo are the actual planners of the “occupy Sabah movement.” It is typical of BS Aquino to marginalize (and even persecute) anyone… Read more »
Kenneth
Guest
Sultan declares ceasefire, but they malaysian government does not, they will continue to kill those Tausugs in Sabah, they are demanding an uncondiotional surrender, or suffer the consequences. Thanks to our DFA branding them, or agreeing to brand them as terrorist. The Sultanate of Sulu wants to go to the ICJ but the government refuses? I thought that they are the ones who want to settle this peacefully, why arebthey refusing to bring the issue to ICJ? Maybe theya re afraid that the trial will produce evidence that they sold out the country. The Supreme Leader is busy campaigning his… Read more »
Johnny Saint
Guest
Both BS Aquino and PM Razak are facing elections this year. And while the Prime Minister may be popular, his party, according to Malaysian pundits, is not doing as well. There is a clamor to take a hard-line stance against the Sultan’s army; they need this win to give the appearance of strength. So long as the standoff continues, there is also a growing speculation that Razak will declare martial law and suspend the elections. On our part, we have to ask: Will BS Aquino or Del Rosario assume any responsibility for a bloodbath in Sabah? Will it be on… Read more »
Glenn
Guest

Holy Shit, the SULTAN and his ARMY???? What ARMY? (they are more like squatters!) these two hundred idiots with pistols and no food? OMG, they are gonna get killed and not much will be done about it afterwards. Yeah sure that famous ‘blood-feud’ Filipino’s are famous for may show up and a few grudges will be held, but really, they are on drugs if they think they are gonna get anything but put to sleep. This is hysterical.

Thomas Jefferson
Guest

BS Aquino was never for the Filipino people. This is true when he slept over the brewing conflict, never acted in favor of the Filipinos in Sabah and sided with the Malaysian government. This gives me the shivers as it reminds me of the tragic Luneta Hostage Crisis. Will BS have enough body bags for the Filipinos now fighting in Sabah? Will he defend our claim in the UN or will he continue to side with Malaysia?

Hyden Toro
Guest

Aquino spokespeople are bunch of liars…they believe their lies…

Kenneth
Guest

I’m smelling a coup’ de etat’… My father told me, hostility will reach manila if this madness continues, and that if ever a coup attempt takes place, he will join, even if he is retired from military duties.

What we need now is a wakeup call for those who still don’t care about what is happening. When bombings happen in the metro I’m sure everyone will change their mind.

Glenn
Guest
Aquino can not hear what this man, the SULTAN (HA!), has to say because he is a non-political entity. To recognize him as such would open a whole new can of worms that no one wants opened. The powers that control the lands once ‘claimed’ by the SULTAN were hoping he would just shut up and go away so they would not have to kill him an all his people, and they did go away until….these idiot followers of his somehow get the IMPOSSIBLE notion in their heads that if they just show up with pistols drawn, they will get… Read more »
Dinu
Guest

They got the idea from the MILF, MNLF, etc.: take up arms to get yourself noticed. These groups even got sweet peace deals, so it’s not an impossible notion like you would like them to think, thanks in part to the Philippine government’s treatment of such armed groups.

traffice2000
Guest

Aquino’s government always play the blame blame blame game and lies lies lies game. three(3)more years to come and end of their game.

Glenn
Guest

OK, THEY ARE GETTING SLAUGHTERED NOW!

IS anyone surprised?

Gin
Guest
The issue of Sabah is not as simple as we thought. But what made matters worse was the fact that this administration totally ignored the Kiram family and pushed the “peace process” between the government and the MILF, with Malaysia as arbiter. Had Pnoy and his cohorts invited Indonesia or other nation as arbiter, then there should not be a problem. The whole peace process is a sham because its full of conflicts of interests from both governments. It begs to wonder whats in it for the people who are involved in the peace process. But I feel that this… Read more »
Gin
Guest
And speaking of history, I cannot deny the fact that the Kirams have themselves to blame. They did not fortify their family interest while receiving rental money from the British company in the 19th century. From today’s estimate, the Kirams then were receiving as much as $20,000,000 a year and that was a fortune. Had they send one or some of their heirs to study abroad and make friends with other nations, they should never have this problem. At the end of the day, this issue is really about money; How much is the just compensation for the Kiram family… Read more »
Dayang Dayang Sitti Fatima Shehan Kiram Idjirani
Guest
Dayang Dayang Sitti Fatima Shehan Kiram Idjirani
To Glen and like him.. Clearly you’re statements are based on lack of proprietary of the issue.. You have no right whatsoever because you are ignorant of the history.. How dare you taint with your insolent words the memory of the people who died for this cause and who have died prior to the incident.. This has been a fight of my great great grandfather(s) up until recently, our family, supporters and the Filipino people who believe in this cause has been hard at work.. Where do you base your heritage? Where is your patrimony? Or maybe you don’t because… Read more »
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