Resolving the Sabah incident – Noynoy style

The “deadline“ for the Filipino followers of the Sultanate of Sulu to surrender or leave Sabah may have already passed, but it seems they are defiant and have decided not to go home. Adding to their problems is that they are running out of food, and that the Aquino government has given them an ultimatum to surrender.

sabah_standoffNow, if you put yourself in the followers’ shoes, why should you leave Sabah? If you go home, there is only punishment waiting for you from the government of “Imperial Manila” for possible violations of laws, which of course president Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino’s government is still doing research on. If you stay, you’re running out of food, but so far, it seems that the Malaysian government hasn’t made moves to deport your group back to the Philippines. That may soon change, though.

Underneath it all, if you’re a follower of the Sultanate of Sulu, why should you heed the demands of a government whom you don’t recognize, and quite possibly, doesn’t recognize you either? Why should you heed the demands of a government who is only too willing to side with the Malaysians instead of helping you with your territorial claim? Why should you heed the demands of a government who apparently ignored the sultanate and gave control of majority of Sulu to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) through the Bangsamoro Agreement?

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Kaya naman pala. (So that’s why.)

Maybe at this point, it would be appropriate to ask if the Sulu Sultanate would like to consider full independence from both the Philippines and Malaysia.

It doesn’t really matter whether the Sultanate considers itself part of the Filipino “nation” or not.

I assumed that after facing crunch time situations such as the stand-off with China, or the hostage situation with Mendoza, the Aquino government has finally learned to deal with such. I was dead wrong.

I don’t condone what the Sultan and his followers did, but who can blame them when it seems that “enough is enough” from a government that has largely ignored them?

It makes you wonder, does BS Aquino have a backup plan now that the Sultanate’s followers are staying put?

The resolution of who really owns Sabah is a complex process that will involve countless periods of time reconciling old documents, sorting out historical events, and making concessions between Malaysia and Philippines.

It looks like neither BS Aquino nor his government wants anything to do with that.

If I were BS Aquino, I wouldn’t want to add another “problem” to my list. After all, I have to micromanage the Liberal Party (LP) campaign. I have to make sure I don’t piss the Malaysians off, as they were the brokers for the Bangsamoro Framework agreement. And I just signed into law Republic Act 10368, which forms a basis for evaluating and compensating supposed human rights victims under the Marcos regime. I don’t have time to deal with the Sulu Sultanate’s followers, never mind a letter from them asking to be consulted on the peace talks got lost in the “bureaucratic maze”.

As far as BS Aquino is concerned, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and his band of merry men are making him look bad. And that’s exactly where the problem lies.

BS Aquino’s government has had a track record of poor diplomatic and negotiation skills, and how he’s handled this mess with the sultan only adds to the track record.

What’s next for this ongoing incident? The longer it goes on, the more that the Aquino government looks incompetent. The inability of BS Aquino and his people to deal effectively with the sultanate’s people, and his refusal to talk to the “offending” party directly, shows unpreparedness for situations that he can’t control.

The sultanate may have started the fire, but it’s in BS Aquino’s hands to resolve it. To restate the obvious, simply telling them to pack up and go home isn’t going to work.

[Photo courtesy Malaysia Today.]

9 Replies to “Resolving the Sabah incident – Noynoy style”

  1. Classic case of chickens coming home to roost. He tried to buy all this feel good PR early on thinking somebody else will be stuck with the bill. That will likely happen but like I said in my cynism of the so called peace agreement, this guy and his administration has lousy fundamentals so its hard to imagine them fundamentally accomplishing anything. Coming up to the third anniversary that we made mistake of voting the guy in.

  2. You already missed one of the most important sentences from PersiNoynoy —- that he worked until three in the morning to make a speech!! Wow!!! Ang sipag, hindi ba????

    From Inquirer-dot :
    Stumping in Cagayan de Oro City for his administration’s senatorial candidates on Tuesday, President Aquino admitted staying up till 3 a.m. that day to write his televised appeal to Jamalul to order his followers to leave Sabah or face charges in court.
    “Last night we prepared the statement about the Sabah incident. That lasted until 1:30 a.m. After that, Gov. [Mujiv] Hataman reported the outcome of his talks with the Kirams, and that was around 2 a.m. Everything was finished by 3 a.m. I got up from bed at 7 a.m. to deliver the statement, and then we flew here,” he told a large crowd in the Don Gregorio Pelaez Sports Complex.

  3. Why should it be PNOY’s problem to resolve the crisis? Sultan Kiram started it, he should finish it. If he has sufficient firepower to defend his rightful claim to Sabah, then he can have the island… He should not expect support from the govt. whose realpolitik is to make everybody happy. RP and Malaysia are both sovereigns. Their language must be dictated by the protocols required of civilized nations. RP cannot cozy up with any ragtag group of militants though how lofty their objective could be if taking that position would deviate from accepted protocols.

    Kiram is better off without the support from the government. Hawaii was taken over by a group of pineapple planters by deposing the polynesian queen without the sanction of the U.S. It was much later, when the businessmen had complete control of the island that U.S. sovereignty was extended over the island.

    If Kiram can force his claim by actually controlling Sabah and exercise his proprietary right over the island, he does not need RP’s support. He can work with the UN members for recognition, and he can have a separate Sabah Republic.

    Why would he ask for RP support whose own islands of Mindanao, it cannot even govern?

    1. It became PNoy’s problem the minute he got elected into office and especially when he didn’t include the Sultan of Sulu in the Bangsamoro framework agreement.

    2. OMG Jcc, are you a filipino? this are our fellow countrymen claiming what is rightfully OURS over MALAYSIANS whatever their issues are WE should be UNITED at this TIME.

      This is not about ABNOY or SULTAN’s. This is about our country. I believe that we shouldn’t be fighting over something that is ours. OFW in our own country?!? no way!!!


  4. Sabah was the issue during the time of Marcos. Now, it is the issue of Aquino…they have invaded part of the country already. Now, Aquino is hiding again from the problem. Like during the Chinese Hostage crisis.

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