THE SABAH ISSUE: The Betrayal to the Republic of the Philippines of Mr. Aquino

I concur with the statement of the Anonymous Philippines (February 28th) that President Aquino’s February 26, 2013 statement on Sabah Issue is problematic.

In fact, I will even argue that the pronouncement of Mr. Aquino is unpatriotic and treasonous. Whatever little respect I have in him is completely gone the very moment I heard him uttered those traitorous words!


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Malaysian casualty in the Sabah standoff

Malaysian casualty in the Sabah standoff

Where can you find a president whose allegiance is not with his people but with another state?

I also agree with candidate Dick Gordon that Mr. Aquino is courting an impeachment case against him for not “executing faithfully the laws of the land”. In failing to do so, he is betraying the “public trust and the public and patrimonial interest of the nation.

It is beyond dispute that “the context of this action by the Sultan of Sulu and his followers is beyond question. It is not a power-grab. Neither is it a land-grab. It is a reassertion of their historic, legal and moral right to be in Sabah, the vast track of land in Northern Borneo controlled by the Federation of Malaysia. It was for them the pursuit of a noble cause.”

Anyone can check all the available sources that they can find, whether it is an encyclopedia, atlas, almanac, Wikipedia, history books, etc. In all of them, Sabah can never ever be separated with the Philippines, specifically the Sultanate of Sulu.

Consider the words of Mr. Aquino:

“You are a leader of your clan, and every leader seeks the well-being of his constituents. These times require you to use your influence to prevail on our countrymen to desist from this hopeless cause.”

I wonder who the hell is his adviser on Sabah? Whoever the hell is that creature, he/she should be immediately shot on the spot. I also wonder why it is that this so-called President appears to be ignorant and blur on the whole issue?

Are those words quoted above, the words you want to hear from your so-called Chief Executive?


Following the line of his ‘reasoning’, if one can imagine or construe, what kind of ‘argument’ is that: why is he egging our people to stand up and fight and not be intimidated by giant and bullish China? Yet, when it comes to the Malaysians, he seems to be soft and apathetic?

This is a clear contradiction!

If the question of the ownership of Sabah is a hopeless cause then, how about our cause against China? Is that not a hopeless case, too? Again, that is following Mr. Aquino’s ‘mental mechanism’.

If our cause against China is not hopeless, then how come our cause against Malaysia is dormant?

The aberrant position of Mr. Aquino defies logic and mock reason!

Further, I would like to ask: what is the distinction in our Sabah dispute with regard to our conflict with China? Why in the latter, he is so eager to stand up with the giant (to the point that a newspaper in China and even here went to the point of tagging and calling him/us as a “trouble maker”) yet he is so cautious and soft with regard to the former?

I see no distinction by virtue of the fact that Sabah and Scarborough Shoal, etc are both our properties and territories.

Why he is not afraid to irritate China, yet he appears to be uneasy to offend Malaysia?

Indeed, there is no shadow of doubt that “it must have been a totally disappointing and devastating feeling for Sultan Kiram and his followers to hear that their noble cause is, for the President of the Philippines, “a hopeless cause.””

Sad but true!

It is my considered view that Mr. Aquino’s call to the followers of Sultan Kiram: “To desist from this hopeless cause” is not merely an impeachable offense but undeniably treasonous and the heights of unpatriotism!

I am ashamed that he is the president of this country.

The duty of a true and valiant president is to be the first one to recognize the claim of the Sultanate of Sulu that “Malaysia has no ownership rights over Sabah and that such ownership rights belong to the Sultanate of Sulu over Sabah which is rightfully within Philippine territory. The position of the Sultanate of Sulu is, in fact and in law, exactly the international claim of the Philippines on Sabah against Malaysia.”

This argument is in conformity with Ambassador Lauro L. Baja, Jr. (A veteran Philippine diplomat. He was the Philippine Permament Representative to the United Nations (May 2003- Feb.2007). Prior to that, he was Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy) in his article ‘Don’t play into Malaysia’s hand’, VERA Files, February 27th, when we categorically state that:

Mr. Aquino’s “statements and actions give the unintended consequence of leaning on our own nationals over a foreign power. We may be playing into Malaysia’s hands who have been adopting a studied but cavalier attitude over the standoff. They are exercising acts of “effectivités” over Sabah during this standoff by their actions and even by their silence over our naive pronouncements.”

The “wisdom of doing it in public” (the President’s act of appearing on TV appealing and at the same time chastising and criticizing the Sultan of Sulu over the stand-off in Sabah) has clearly shows that he has no concern with our Sabah claim and that instead of taking the cudgel of our Filipino Muslim brothers, he let them down, worst he even appears to be the Malaysian spokesperson.

The whole thing exploded to his very face!

I strongly doubt if he could still recover the trust and confidence of the people and the public as a whole!

The reaction of the people is swift. Check the Yahoo online survey. The latest is that Mr. Aquino is viewed by a greater number of our countrymen as pro-Malaysia. What a shame!

The so-called ‘president’ of daang matuwid became the pang-gulo ng kalsadang baluktot!

As Ambassador Baja said:

“The Sabah standoff should rouse the Philippine Rip van Winkle attitude towards our claim to the area. It provides the country with a unique but sensitive opportunity to revisit our claim. If the Philippines can deal with the situation with some diplomatic imagination and finesse it can correct some missteps of the past which led to the current state of helplessness insofar as the issue is concerned…

“The solid legal foundation of our claim still exists.

“In the transfer of sovereignty document which the Sultan of Sulu signed with the Philippine government, it was expressly provided that the transfer shall be deemed voided if the Philippines shall fail to pursue the claim. The sultan understandably feels he is now free to pursue the claim himself.”

Why? Because this President does not give a damn about them, hence I concur that the Sultan had no choice but to pursue their historic claim by themselves.

Indeed, “it is a sad commentary on the Philippines if our own nationals should run to the UN because their government cannot protect their rights. This is not the spectacle our country wants to portray to the international community.”

Professor Randy David is in point where he stated in his article, “The Real Sovereign”, Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 7th that:

The Sultan can very well file his private claims before a Malaysian or international court; he does not need the Philippine government’s consent to do this. Since the Philippine government has not actively pursued its sovereign claim over Sabah, the Sultan is free to seek help elsewhere.

One thing he cannot do is force the Philippine state to go to war for him.


My suggestion is for the United Nations to intervene on this issue and assume jurisdiction.

I welcome their call this Thursday (finally, after weeks of silence) for the parties to stop from killing and wiping out each other.

I also call upon the Organization of Islamic State (OIC) to mediate between the followers of the Sultan of Sulu and Malaysia to engage in a dialogue.

Further, I certainly believe that the intervention of the Sultan of Brunei, as the original historical owner carries some moral and persuasive effect to the contending parties.

The Sabah “invasion”

How could be the act of the followers of the Sultan of Sulu be considered as an “intrusion” or invasion” when said land subject of the dispute is their land?

If Malaysia owned the land, as they are claiming then why the hell up to now they are paying rent, no matter how nominal and small the amount to the Sultan of Sulu?

The use of excessive force

I concur overwhelmingly with Professor Harry L. Roque, Director, Institute of International Legal Studies of the University of the Philippines Law Center that:

“The use of modern fighter jets and air strikes against the followers of the Sultanate of Sulu is illegal. Under human rights law, the use of force in police operations should be absolutely necessary and strictly proportional to the threat posed by the Filipinos in Sabah. Moreover, Respect for the right to life of a police suspect requires that the nature and degree of force used be proportionate to the threat posed by the suspect to the safety and security of the police officers, other individuals and society as a whole. Malaysian Law enforcement officials should, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to force, and in particular, the resort to airstrikes.

“Since the use of force against the Filipinos involved in the standoff is illegal, Malaysia has committed an internationally wrongful act. Accordingly, the Philippine government, in addition to espousing the rights of its nationals, should also demand that the international community should ask Malaysia to cease and desist from further breaching human rights law. It should later be asked to pay compensation to the victims of its use of disproportionate use of force.”

According to the Malaysian authorities, they have already defeated the ‘militants’, yet even their senior police officer is doubting that that is the case. Further, the so-called “mopping operations” have yet to produce the dead bodies of the “intruders”. Hence, what ‘victory’ is this?

The barbarity of war

I condemn Malaysia for using excessive force, in the same vein that I also condemn to the highest degree the acts of the followers of the Sultan of Sulu (if the reports are true) that they engaged in torturing and beheading the police and/or soldiers that they caught!

This is a shame!

Both sides are wrong on this score!

Yes, there is an on-going conflict, but as the American philosopher William James said, there should be a certain degree of morality, even in war.

Why? Because if both sides will engaged in acts of barbarism, then there would be no distinction between the two and the two of them would be no different from animals and scoundrels.

The Cyberwar

It saddens me that the on-going stand-off in Sabah has already spilled to the cyber world!

According to the reports, Malaysian hackers hacked the site of Globe; thereupon in an immediate retaliation, the Anonymous Philippines Cyber Army also hit back and hacked numerous Malaysian sites!

This pierces my heart profusely!

On this juncture, I would like to thank and commend the Anonymous International in their intervention and call for both the Filipino and Malaysian hackers to stop this unnecessary cyberwar.

As they said in an official statement:

“Let us help both The Philippines and Malaysia unite, not find a reason to fight…”

We all have to find a way to stop this fiasco before, a more bigger and much sinister development happen!

According further to the reports, the ‘war-front’ that begun as a single area has now spread to other areas. Now, the front-lines of battle are on three different locations.

So, now how will the Malaysian authorities conduct the so-called mopping operation, if the delineation of the battle-fields is not clear?

I do not know whether the Malaysian authorities are aware of the consequences of its actions!

They claimed that the so-called ‘militants’ and/or ‘intruders’ are numbering from 100 to 300; then why not send 1, 000 to 2, 000 marines or soldiers to subdue them? Why bring in the tanks and the fighter jets?

Are they afraid to fight in a mortal combat those so-called ‘invaders’?

It was also reported that one Malaysian fighter jet instead of hitting the position of the ‘militants’ rather wrongly bomb their own soldiers. Is this a case of a ‘friendly-fire’ or due to some human error or can we attribute this to the stupidity of the pilot?

Yes, they can wipe out and kill all of those ‘intruders’, yet I doubt if that would be the end of the problem!

Do they not know that the sons and daughters and the heirs of those ‘militants’, ‘invaders’, ‘intruders’ will not cease from continuing what their ancestors have struggled for!

The heirs of those ‘martyrs’ will not stop from fighting what they believe righteously belongs to them…

The ‘war’ will not end and this is because of the fault both of the governments of Malaysia and the Philippines…


[Photo courtesy Today Online.]

96 Replies to “THE SABAH ISSUE: The Betrayal to the Republic of the Philippines of Mr. Aquino”

  1. “The writer has a Master’s degree in Philosophy, a law degree and a degree in AB Political Science. He was previously teaching Philosophy, Ethics and Anthropology at an institution of higher education in Nilai University College at Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia”

    But not the faintest understanding of history, let alone contemporary realities.

    Frankly I am dismayed that this website, which claims to be concerned to make the Philippines “get real”, gives space to such a pathetically ignorant diatribe; the writer could have informed himself very easily by reference to widely available documents, but has been too lazy to do so and has chosen to sound off without doing his homework.

    Just the sort of Filipino trait that Benigno tells us he opposes. Perhaps he is checking to see if we are still awake?

    The lease signed by the actual Sultan of Sulu, back in the days when there really was a Sultan of Sulu, as opposed to half a dozen people surnamed Kiram claiming to be such a person, back in January 1878, is perfectly clear; it is expressed to be “to the end of time” in the original Arabic.

    To put that document back into context, remember what happened in July 1878: the Sultan of Sulu finally capitulated to Spain.

    So what was he doing in February?

    Simple – he was handing over lands that he could no longer administer and collect taxes from, in exchange for a pension that would support him and his family after they had surrendered to Spain.

    That is why the “lease” is “in perpetuity” (English version) and “Till the end of time” (Arabic version). The Sultan was not giving away his ancestral homeland; he had rights over part (not all) of modern Sabah because he had been granted them by way of payment for assistance in putting down a revolt. He had no hope of getting Sabah back; he was “sine spe revertandi”. What he needed was an income for his family after they had lost power.

    His family’s main sources of income in the past – piracy and slaving – were no longer available to them – this was, after all, the 19th century, the era of the telegraph cable and the steam engine – and Spain was about to depose him at last.

    He turned his domain of Sabah into cash.

    So this:

    If Malaysia owned the land, as they are claiming then why the hell up to now they are paying rent, no matter how nominal and small the amount to the Sultan of Sulu?

    is just a manifestation of ignorance, the consequence of idleness in failing to check the facts.

    As for this:

    “Since the use of force against the Filipinos involved in the standoff is illegal, Malaysia has committed an internationally wrongful act. Accordingly, the Philippine government, in addition to espousing the rights of its nationals, should also demand that the international community should ask Malaysia to cease and desist from further breaching human rights law. It should later be asked to pay compensation to the victims of its use of disproportionate use of force.”

    this is more codswallop. The insurgents were confronted by the Malaysian Police; only when the murderous thugs of the MNLF opened fire on the police were the armed forces called in.

    Again, the writer is so carried away by his self righteous fury that he has not bothered with mere facts.


    Oh, by the way, I hold a Master’s degree from the university of Cambridge. But I don’t feel I need to cite that to impress people.

    1. “Oh, by the way, I hold a Master’s degree from the university of Cambridge. But I don’t feel I need to cite that to impress people.”

      And yet you did!

      1. Karlo, no one is trying to impress people here!

        The purpose of this site is for us to exchange views and opinion!

        No one gives a damn to your degree from Cambridge or Harvard or Yale!

        You can have your cake and eat it too!

        1. Karlo, this is not for you but for Andrew!

          From this day on, I will now call him as Mr. Cambridge! Why? Because though he does not feel the need to cite that accomplishment; still he cited that fact!

          Very well, let’s grant his wish and let the whole world knows that he is a Cambridge boy! Hurray!

      1. @Andrew
        Ricky Carandang should hire you instead of that idiot fishball/eduardo/jonas whatever, with that Master degree of yours, I wish your “wisdom” at least would rub with the Comm people in PNoy’s pocket, after all, we paid for their salaries!

      2. Dear Kulafu,

        I’m not letting you what you can and cannot publish – I’m taking piss out of you for giving space and electrons to a column which exemplifies many of the intellectual vices that you condemn so enthusiatically elsewhere.


        Ibong Malta (let’s at least keep this Filipino!) 😉

    2. Andrew, I have no intention of citing my credentials! It is this site that cited them!

      I am a simple writer, who write what I think is right for the benefit of the public and humanity as a whole!

      My interest is the interest of mankind, not simply of the Philippines or whatever!

      I don’t know what your interests are!

      You have an issue with what I wrote, very well, reply and refute them; but don’t engaged in argumentum ad hominem!

      You doubt the Degrees that I’ve finished? The feeling is mutual, I also doubt that you have a degree from Cambridge! How could that great institution of Higher Learning accept an idiotic freak like you? WHAT A SHAME!!!

      You claim that the contract of lease is in perpetuity! Wow, so you read the whole document? Way to go, man!

      Question: Assuming arguendo that your assertion is correct, are you telling the claimants that they have no other recourse whatsoever? How about a renegotiation? A discussion for a new agreement? An agreement that would be more beneficial and more equitable to all parties concern? A much fairer agreement?

      The way you talk as if you a judge! If you think that you are correct, then why not write a comprehensive paper with regard to the topic? Ha?

      You are disappointed with my writing? Well, the feeling is mutual; I also did not enjoyed reading your rubbish thoughts!

      1. You say you are a simple writer, motivated by a concern for all humanity.

        I can only judge you by what you have written, which looks more like an emotional appeal to nationalism than a dispassionate analysis of the issues, in the interest of humanity.

        I have read several dispassionate analyses of the issues, including the question of the future of the undocumented Tausugs now living in Sabah, and the likely effects of a border closure, two highly pertinent issues, and an analysis of why the MNLF got involvedbut the MILF (to their credit) did not, written by Filipino writers, but yours, sadly, is not one.

        As you no doubt know, FV Ramos did try to negotiate a better deal – but the Kirams could notbring themselves to agree.

        The lease, in both versions, is perfectly clear as to duration; the only possible argument would be on the meaning of “dollar” – it could be argued that this meant the silver trade dollar, not the US dollar.

        Remember this was not the first lease of North Borneo by the Sultan but the second; the first had been for ten years; this one was “until the end of time” because what he wanted was income, not territory. He could have put in a limited term, be it another ten years or the 99 years agreed with China for the New Territories of Hong Kong, but he chose not to, because he wanted income, not teritory. He did thatbecause he knew that in a very few years – in months, in fact – he would no longer be a sovereign over anything.

        But what about the rights of the people of Sabah? There are more than three million of them, according to the 2010 Census. Rather over half a million of them are Filipinos, according to the RP Government, and most of those (447,000, RP stats) are there illegally,again according to the RP Government.

        In 1963 the people of Sabah voted for union with Malaysia. That result was challenged before the UN by the RP and by Indonesia, and the UN sent a fact finding mission, including representatives from the RP and from Indonesia, which agreed with the Cobbold Commision’s results.

        Do you think the wishes of these people are of no importance?

        Or do you realise that any such vote, if held again today, would give the same result?

        Malaysia’s GDP per head (UN figs) in 2100 was US$9,977; the RP’s was US$2,370

        Malaysia ranks 55 in the TI corruption index; the RP ranks 105.

        How many citizens of Sabah will choose to leave Malaysia and join the RP?

        Or do these people have no rights?

        Perhaps you will argue that they should not be there in the first place, and should leave? In that case, you would be arging for “ethnic cleansing” which as you should be aware is a crime against humanity and may be tried before the ICJ.

        Do tell…

        1. I am not a nationalist, but a Marxist revolutionary!

          If the ICJ will rule that Sabah belongs to Malaysia or if the Sabahans themselves will choose to remain with Malaysia, then that’s the end of it!

          The point is: we exhausted the process and hopefully that judicial determination will bring CLOSURE to this issue!

          The problem is: what if the Court rule that Sabah belongs to the Sultan of Sulu?

          Or, what if the Sabahans themselves does not recognize the judgment reached by the Court?

          These are the questions that we need to address!

          No one wants this bloody war! We are brothers! We are one!

          If there is someone we need to confront and fight, that is no other than China!

        2. @Jose Mario Dolor De Vega:

          “I am not a nationalist, but a Marxist revolutionary!”

          Yes, I rather thought you might be. 😉

          I’m a liberal democrat, myself. Try Karl Popper – he cured me of dialectical materialism, permanently.

          Agree with you about China – that is where the real danger lies. The CCP cannot bring the nationalism they have unleashed back under control.

      2. We tend to have that response any time someone says something that strikes us as socially inappropriate or blatantly wrong. But, Hey! Cut that master’s degree crap Ok!!! Let’s focus on the real issue here. Support Sabah once and for all! Support Filipino people!

    3. @ Andrew

      I like the fact that this blogger is not hiding behind a “pseudonym” and that makes him accountable with the issues he present. I think this blog would be taken seriously and have a bigger impact if benignO and his contributors would take out their veil and face their tormentors, otherwise GRP is just another partisan gossip column.

      1. The only people who won’t/don’t take us seriously are those who are tsismosos and tsismosas – those who care more about the person behind the article than the message in the article. Luckily, most GRP subscribers can focus on the message instead of the messenger.

        1. @ Ilda

          In the early days of blogging, pseudonyms were the norm to protect bloggers from legal problems. Those days are gone. There are only a few women bloggers engage in the political dialogue, Arriana Huffington rules in this field. I think you can be a Filipino Arriana Huffington?

        2. @LA702

          Hmmm…how would writing under a pseudonym protect a blogger from legal problems? I’m not even writing under a pseudonym. Most people who know me call me Ilda.

          I think you can be a Filipino Arriana Huffington?


      2. LA702. Correct me if I am wrong but I doubt LA702 is in your birth certificate, credit card or drivers license.

        I love how you accuse people of hiding behind when you do exactly the same thing. Where you do not do exactly the same thing is you don’t blog anything that we know of. One thing you can never argue is you come to us despite the fact we are Christian name challenged.

        You don’t have to come to us but you do. What have you done? People here love to write opinions and you don’t have to be here.

        BTW you remind me of Vito Spatafore. You and jonas, sanjo go back to eating Johnnycakes together.

        Now go troll some other forum with your real name or are you being truly an onion skinned pinoy who attacks the very thing he/ she is?

        1. @ Gogs

          Wrong! Have you ever been right my friend? It makes me wonder why @ benignO would waste his precious time on a useless bastard like you. I think you should be honored that I’m paying GRP a visit. LOL!

        2. I have no idea who is honored LA702. You are what you are which is a bitter troll looking for attention. Double standards up the wazoo like BSA III. Why not join your partner sanjo? I said a very simple thing. Is LA702 your given name? Then you call me wrong. You come here because you can get more value than anything you can ever put together. You were not missed when you were not here. So leave. I can do without the “honor”. Thanks for reading though. I am right about a few things. Maybe not all, but you love us. Appreciate the patronage.

    4. Cambridge, the other place….yes I could see that, as opposed to someone from Oxford discussing the above issues.

      If the discussion was about technology, then yes the ‘cantab.’ could more commonly be seen as believable. However, it does seem evident that the issues are political, historical… with projections into economics.

      I am not a linguistics expert as I am sure neither are you, but you did attempt to interpret the term “till the end of time”…which reminds me of what a notoriously famous Oxford professor in History once told his students: “You could be here until the end of time, which could be as quick as a semester or until such time that I say…. your time is up.”

      The Sultan too, could actually be saying the end of time for the lease has come.

      One thing is quite clear, the author does have the credentials to write about the issues. Surely, it gives a better perspective of the Sabah situation. There is more to it than a ‘lease document from those days of yore written in the language of its time’.

  2. BS Aquino neither has the refinement, subtlety, integrity, nor sophistication to handle crises like this—He would rather use a mallet in situations where a surgical knife would be what’s needed or better suited for the problem. He would burn the house down to catch the mouse, use a hammer if not a shotgun to kill the fly, or cut the shoelace instead of simply loosening the knot—The guy simply goes for the easy way out leaving the situation far worse than before.

    1. On the contrary, facing a nationally embarrassing situation where a gang of armed killers has just decided to try to invade a neighbouring friendly state, the President had the guts to call a spade a spade, rather than try to go along with the torrent of plastic patriotism espoused by, amongst others, Dick Gordon, whom I know, and whom I used to respect.

      “Going for the easy way” is exactly what he did not do, here.

      1. You sound like another yellow apologist on a mission to do damage control.

        “…invade a neighboring friendly state…” ?!?

        “[P]lastic patriotism” is exactly what BS Aquino does when putting political tenure or party affiliation over and above his prime directive as (puppet?) president—some of which include defending the county’s sovereignty/partimony and lives of its people (regardless of the sort of reputation you wish to feign or brand the sultan’s group as for your convenience, and in order to justify a cleanup job).

        I see that you carry the same “yellow” habit of measuring or “respecting” another politician by how he or she agrees with the yellow party’s way of seeing things. What I can say of Gordon is his better track record compared to BS Aquino in negotiating and working diplomatically with care and concern for all parties in crises in the past. BS Aquino is so callous and dismissive to counsel outside his political party, affiliations, or support that his options become so narrow and brittle. “Botched up” may well be his middle name—He’d rather skip steps and go for the easy way out.

      2. Spade a spade huh? riiight.. So 188 Congressmen railroading an impeachment, Sending an utak-pulbura as a secret envoy in a delicate diplomatic backdoor mission, and buying a Posche as his presidential wheels, and this guy really can call a spade a spade? Uh, Houston we got a problem..

        1. All true, but let’s give him credit for what he has done right – let’s suppose he had formally supported this MNLF incursion* into Sabah, the Phiippines would now be at war with Malaysia.

          The population of Sabah is three million and odd, according to the 2010 census, of those just over half a million are Filipinos, most of whom are there illegally.

          Have you seen any indication AT ALL that the citizens of Sabah want to break away from Malaysia (GDP per head in 2011 US$9,977, according to the UN) and join the Philippines (GDP per head in 2011 US$2,370, according to the UN)

          Remember that in 1963, given the choice, in a referendum, the people of Sabah chose to federate with Malaysia.

          One reason why they made that choice was that Indonesia was actually trying to invade Sabah and Sarawak with miltary force (the Konfrontasi) and British soldiers were fighting and dying to preserve their right to make a free choice. Unsurprisingly the people of Sabah felt safer with Malaysia.

          * Let’s call this by its right name; this was the MNLF, excluded from the Bangsamoro talks, trying to get a seat at the table. Jamalul Kiram III, age 74, in need of dialysis, is just a pawn for Nur Misuari.

        2. Aquino hasn’t done right.

          Why wait for the incursion anyway? Why not support them at the negotiations?

          Alternatively, granted the incursion has happened, why not leverage on the support they are seeking and make them return to the negotiating table rather than tell them they’re on their own, effectively losing some semblance of control over them?

        3. @Andrew:

          does the 1963 vote by the people of Sabah to stay with Malaysia then mean that Mindanao, similarly, can choose to separate from the Philippines

        4. On the question of whether Mindanao has the right to secede… actually complicated, and with some complications for the Sabah issue. Mindanao Muslims can in fact argue that they were deprived of self-determination and incorporated into the Philippines against their will, especially since there were communications from Muslim leaders to the US colonial administrators asking them not to “turn them over to the Filipinos”. Any effort to do that would run into two problems. One is that the events in question happened a long time ago, and the Philippines has what is called “continuing administration” over Mindanao. “Continuing administration” is international law-talk meaning international bodies generally uphold the status quo, unless there’s very compelling reason to do otherwise (not a habit that helps the Philippine claim to Sabah). The other issue is whether post-independence settlers would be able to vote in any new self-determination exercise. Muslim groups have long held that settlers should not vote in referenda on autonomy, the government has insisted that they have the right. That of course makes it very difficult for the Philippines to claim that Sabah votes are affected by settlers.

          In theory, yes, Mindanao’s Muslims could claim that they were deprived of the right to self-determination and demand a referendum on secession. In practice, it’s very unlikely that any international body would touch the issue.


      He would rather use a mallet in situations where a surgical knife would be what’s needed or better suited for the problem.


      Felipe, you described a classic case of somebody who has no skills or experience. No idea why that type is a president of a country though it makes sense that someone like that is president of this country.

  3. Its rather a shame to have a president whose ego in expressing his personal prejudgment translated into arrogance, triggering a citizenry losing trust since the first day. Palace incapables loved tv appearances for political reasons without truly addressing the problem. In all legalities, all actions made by both country leaders are treasonous not to go unnoticed. They must be tried and given their day to answer for their sins and NOT lord it over to blame anyone for their failures nor harass all of the Sultanates and suspected collaborators made out of their imaginations. There is no more reason to further vote for their continued tenure in office. They are to be meted with swift justice to restore the peoples’ trusts and integrity of our constitution…

    1. The guy was nothing before our country so wisely voted him in. His resume was blank. Yet he played the ” awa ka sa akin nawala yung nanay ko” card so well and pinoys ate it hook line and sinker. Proud to be Pinoy!!!!! Now that he is drivers seat he just let’s loose with no thought of down the road. Guy is no Brainiac either.m

  4. “Following the line of his ‘reasoning’, if one can imagine or construe, what kind of ‘argument’ is that: why is he egging our people to stand up and fight and not be intimidated by giant and bullish China? Yet, when it comes to the Malaysians, he seems to be soft and apathetic?

    “This is a clear contradiction!

    “If the question of the ownership of Sabah is a hopeless cause then, how about our cause against China? Is that not a hopeless case, too? Again, that is following Mr. Aquino’s ‘mental mechanism’.

    “If our cause against China is not hopeless, then how come our cause against Malaysia is dormant?

    “The aberrant position of Mr. Aquino defies logic and mock reason!

    “Further, I would like to ask: what is the distinction in our Sabah dispute with regard to our conflict with China? Why in the latter, he is so eager to stand up with the giant (to the point that a newspaper in China and even here went to the point of tagging and calling him/us as a “trouble maker”) yet he is so cautious and soft with regard to the former?

    “I see no distinction by virtue of the fact that Sabah and Scarborough Shoal, etc are both our properties and territories.”

    You claim to hold a law degree? I cannot begin to understand how you obtained such a thing, unless it was from a degree mill.

    The territory of eastern Sabah was leased in perpetuity in 1878 by the Sultan of Sabah; either the claim to that land lies with the Philippine Government as his heirs, the position taken by Macapagal, or the claim lies with his heirs (whoever they are – there seem to be several people claiming to be the Sultan of Sulu) The claim cannot lie with both, and in any case the claim cannot be more than a claim to the rental due – currently 77,000 pesos a year, because the land was ceded in perpetuity.

    The claim to the Scarborough Shoal, on the other hand, rests on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)because the shoal lies within the Philippines’Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). China is in clear breach of that.

    So on the one hand we have a claim well founded in modern international law, against the superpower bully of the region, and on the other hand we have a claim banned by the ASEAN treaty against a fellow ASEAN state built on a misreading of a nineteenth century document.

    Geopolitically, it makes sense for the Philippines to recruit support in ASEAN for its position vis a vis China; supporting armed attacks on Malaysia is not a good way to do this.

    To refer a case against one country to the International Court, and to seek to use force against another country, looks just a bit inconsistent.

    Do keep in mind that China has a valid historical claim – just as sound as the claim to Sabah – to the whole of Luzon and the Visayas, because the datus of these placs paid tribute to the Ming Empire, so they were vassal states.

    Best be careful what you wish for…

    1. I was actually going to ask some of these points myself. Glad someone here is looking at this at a different perspective rather than the bandwagon patriotism I am currently experiencing with most people.

      Too bad no one here wants to respond to your points. (maybe they can’t refute it? :D)

      1. or maybe we just agree with them 🙂

        @andrew, more power to you. i may not have any affection for the current president, but i do think he did right this time. and you do present your stand quite logically. a cool breeze of fresh air, i would say.

    2. “Do keep in mind that China has a valid historical claim – just as sound as the claim to Sabah – to the whole of Luzon and the Visayas, because the datus of these placs paid tribute to the Ming Empire, so they were vassal states.

      Best be careful what you wish for…”

      Really? Admiral Chen Ho even put India, Sri Lanka, the Arabian peninsula, and parts of Africa in his maps when he explored this parts just to hunt the treasonous, emperor’s brother, so are they also part of China? Ming pottery are also found in India, Pakistan, and as far as Syria and Egypt meaning they are also parts of China? the above places I mentioned also paid some kind of ‘tribute” to him when he arrived bearing the the “goodwill” of the Ming emperor, so it means they are part of China? nice logic their dude..I’m taking history as my next Masters in teaching and I read about it, so maybe you should polish your old Encyclopedia Britannica collection in your home..

      1. Btw, although you fail in some points you have some valid arguments about the Sabah issue, just make sure that some points your saying don’t have holes so others can punch thru..

      2. Quite a lot of that Ming pottery was produced for export; I have some which my parents bought in Baghdad in the 1940s which was clearly made for the export market. But tha’s
        by the by.

        I lived in Beijing for five years; you would be surprised at just how “nationalistic” the younger generation of Chinese men and women actually are. Yes, some of them really do believe that Cheng Ho’s expeditions give them some sort of “right” to those places, but the question of Luzon and the Visayas is actually on a different basi, more long term and not to do with Cheng Ho.

        The problem is actually this – Chinese merchants were forbidden to trade with “outer barbarians” who were not members of the Celestial Empire.

        So, in order to trade with the Chinese and obtain the Chinese goods that they wanted, the datus of Luzon and the Visayas happily acknowledged the suzerainty of the Celestial Empire and paid tribute – at least one of them died in China on a tribute mission and his grave, in China, was maintained by his descendants until certainly the 1930s.

        This incidentally explains the otherwise mysterious “nine dash line” – by decreeing that the South China Sea was Chinese territory, the skippers and owners of the junks trading with Luzon, the Visayas, Vietnam, etc. could claim that they had not violated the Imperial rescript which forbade them to leave China.

    3. China has a valid historical claim? Wow! How about the Indians, do they have a valid historical claim with regard to the Indian Ocean? Bwahahahahah! Amazing!!!

      1. My point, in case you missed it, is that China’s claim to Luzon is about as good as the Philippines’ claim to Sabah. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander

        1. Like that ah? Okay fine, by virtue of the fact that the name of the sea carries their name: then, let China take all the countries there at Southeast Asia!

          Let them take too those countries in Africa! Well, historically they also been there! Let them take everything!

        2. @ Jose Mario Dolor De Vega:

          It took me a long time to work out where the “nine dash line” came from – finally a Filipino historian pointed out the junk trade connection to me. It makes perfect sense. by defining the South China Sea as “Chinese territory”, the merchants could claim never to have left China.

          China didn’t (and doesn’t) really accept the idea of “international waters” – there is a good display on this point in the new HK Maritime Museum if you get a chance to visit it (next to Star Ferry in Central).

          In modern times the claim was first asserted by the KMT government in Chonqing in the early Forties; the CCP government adopted it and what is absolutely disastrous is that the line was shortened by Zhou Enlai – Zhou is the unquestioned Good Guy of recent Chinese history – Mao Zhedong was “80%right” but Zhou was “100% right” so nobody in the CCP can dare to question anything he did – including drawing lines on maps!

    4. @ Andrew

      I see a problem in that statement about China having a claim on Luzon and the Visayas or for that matter the Philippine Islands. A German geologist refuted this Chinese claim sometime in the early 90’s saying that the “islands” that is now known as the Philippines rose from the Pacific during the last “Earth cycle” 3600 years ago. China, the IndoChinese region, India and Japan have existed since the antedeluvian age and were the known Asian continent.

      I believe Indonesia, Malaysia and the other neighboring islands rose from the pacific during the same period 3600 years ago. Where the people that populated these regions came from, the Islamic influences and their not-so-Asian features is another subject.

      “The Tallano Royal family”.

      Based on China’s Ming Dynasty records, Chinese merchants traded spices with a wealthy “King TALLANO” from an island called “Maharlika” during the 15th century. How the “TALLANO royalty”, the legal and rightful owners of the Philippines Islands withered is not recorded in Philippine history books but the Spanish colonizers
      successfully destroyed them. Tallano, The Prince of Brunei, the ancient royalties of Hawaii, Indonesia and Malaysia were said to be relatives. If that were the case, I believe Kiram is a legitimate part of these royal tribe.

    5. I’m just a simple observer about all these things that are taking place in Sabah. You are talking about a lease in perpetuity? I’m just curious about the deed of pajak that the Sultan of Sulu negotiated with Overbeck and Dent.Is it the same lease contract that you are talking about? Way back in 1946 Prof. Harold Conklin interpreted pajak as lease and not cession. In 1962 the Sulu sultan had turned over the sovereignty of Sabah to the Philippines but chose to retain his proprietary rights. Is it not prudent to settle first the controversy on the real ownership of Sabah by elevating the matter to the Icj? After that we can already discuss the matter of Sabah’s independence whether from the Philippines or from Malaysia. Please enligthen me on this sir.Thanks.

  5. I rather think that betrayal of the President was mainly due to the awaited celebration of ASEAN’s 50 years, where both the Philippines and Malaysia are both members. China is not a member anyway, but just a dialogue partner, so I guess relations with China is the lesser concern as compared to relations with Malaysia. Also, they may be thinking, “Why spoil the impending 50th year of ASEAN?” Inasmuch as ASEAN was said to be more successful now than the EU, why break that momentum and let EU overtake us again?

    My point is, don’t just blame the President, blame also the Philippines’ membership in ASEAN, and also ASEAN itself – making the Philippines contradict its own actions in one way or another.

    1. publicity for the in-coming election is what Mr.Aquino is doing now…..we will not expect him to resolve the issue about SABAH,it very impossible……he couldnt even resolve the hacienda luisita…..he’s a HAMBOG, pretending that he is doing everything for the people,,hahahaha HINDI KAYA PARA SA PAMILYA LANG NILA? style yan nang mga aquino kung baga may ginagawa, wala pala…nagpapaganda sa harap ng mga tao peru sa totou lang, ginamit lang ang mga tao para sila

  6. sa tingin ko hindi naman siguro nag commit ng betrayal ang ating Presidente. TAma lang naman siguro ang ginawa nya dahil sa mga sumusunod:
    1. Ang Malaysia ay isa sa mga tumutulong sa atin lalo na sa Peace agreement with MILF. Sa tingin ko iniingatan ng Pangulo ang sitwasyon dahil sa malaking tulong sa bansa ang kapayapaan sa Mindanao. Ano mang salita na gamitin ng Pangulo regarding sa sabah ay maaring ikasama ng Malaysia.At sa aking palagay , kung magkakaroon ng hidwaan o di pagkakaintindihan sa pagitan ng dalawang bansa,eto ay makaka apekto sa peace process na pinaghirapan din ng ating gobyerno. Pag nagka problema,baka ang stock market natin ay bumaba naman na ngayon ay isa sa pinaka profitable sa Asia at sa buong mundo. Posible rin na maapektuhan ang ating umuunlad(kahit di maniwala ang iba)na ekonomiya.
    2. Mas mahalaga ang kapakanan ng mas nakararami. Hindi naman siguro gusto ng Presidente na pabayaan ang sabah. Sa tingin ko, ito ay hindi ang proper na timing na mapagusapan ang problema. Hintayin natin na ma finalize ang peace agreement,palakasin ang ekonomiya,palakasin ang armed forces at kung may enough na tayong kakayanan sa diplomacia,ekonomiya at armed forces, siguro pwede na natin i file sa ICJ ang ating concern sa sabah.

    SA tingin ko tama ang ginawa ng Presidente. Ang nangyari ngayon,humingi ng cease-fire ang grupo ni Kiram at marami na nag namatay sa kanila. Ano kayang kahihiyan ang makukuha ng gobyerno kung sinuportahn si kiram at humingi tayo ng ceasefire? mas nakakahiya di ba? mas mali kung magpadala si Pinoy ng mga sundalo sa malaysia para tumulong sa grupo ni kiram.

    Maraming magagandang balita at bagay ang nangyayari sa ating bansa ngayon. Sigurado akong iyan ang priority ng Ating Pangulo para sa kapakanan ng maraming Pilipino. Subaybayan natin kung ano ang mangyayari. At kung ano man ang resulta,don na natin makikita kung tama ba o mali ang ginawa ng pangulo.

    I know the President is doing everything to bring closure to this problem and to bring progress in our country. I didn’t vote for him.But as the President of the Filipino Nation, I support and respect him.

    Naniniwala rin ako sa point ng bawat isa dito. Pabor ako na bawiin ang sabah. Pero palakasin muna natin ang ating ekonomiya,diplomasiya at AFP. Wag pairalin ang emosyon dahil pag nagkamali tayo,sa huli na rin ang pag sisisi. Mas maganda kung maging Peacemakers tayo lahat. Salamat

    1. Para sakin kung maayos lang at magaling talaga itong si PNOY sa diplomasya ndi na humantong sa barilan yan Sabbah.

      Pero hinde eh sa halip na diplomasya ang pairalin kayabangan pa ang umiral.

      Sayang lang talaga pagkakataon kung pumayag lang sya makipag 1 on 1 kay Kiram bago nangyari ang putukan imbes na mangampanya sa senatorial election edi wala na tayong krisis ngayon gumanda pa opinyon sa kanya.

      1. I can’t disagree with that. Not the cleverest move by the Malacanang!

        But at least Aquino, having made the initial mistake, did not make a bad situation worse.

        My bottom line is that the Philippines cannot afford to have afight with Malaysia and a fight with China at the same time – and China is infinitely more dangerous.

        1. Andrew, who do you think want a fight with these countries? Can we not resolve these issues peacefully through diplomacy? Ang ibig naming sabihin na kung sana as early on binigyan na ng pansin ni Pnoy ang sulat ni Sultan Kiram regarding his appeal for the North Borneo (Sabah) case, sana walang Filipinong namatay sa Sabah and remember, they are not invaders/intruders in that place (Sabah). They’re just there to claim their right for the North Borneo (Sabah)territory only and nothing more. As far as the Scarborough Shoal is concern, I think it’s not a good idea of this administration
          to send a “back door” negotiator to handle the negotiation in the first place.

        2. Andrew, I disagree that Aquino’s latest moves have not made a bad situation worse.

          Here’s something you may also want to consider: the Philippines cannot afford to have a fight within its own territory.

          By missing out on the diplomatic solution, and continued lack of support for the Sultan (anything to just make them talk and negotiate and talk some more instead of resorting to arms because of perceived abandonment and marginalization), there is now a risk that what is happening to Sabah, will happen in Mindanao. Sure, we’ve had that before with the MNLF, MILF, Abu Sayaff, etc. This time we have a new player, Kiram and his Royal Sulu Army (or whatever they’d like to be called). Yes, they are composed of the same people as the other groups. The point is, they’ve got a new name and a new cause and are going to make trouble again.

        3. yup agree… but china definitely violated one principle in warfare which is to take the enemy one at a time…now, it’s busy confronting various opponents from different angles: there’s japan, korea,vietnam, the philippines and the rest of asean members which are claimants in spratly’s group of islands…

    2. @ Wilhemina D Alicante – I certainly agree that diplomacy is the way to go – for many reasons, including the ASEAN treaty, and the need to keen ASEAN “on side” in dealing with China.

      I recall that FV Ramos did just that – and did get a much better deal for the poeples of the Sulu region, but sadly the Kirams never agreed to it and it lapsed.

      As regards the position of the Kirams – and I believe there are currently seven claimants to the throne of Sulu – I can only suggest that like other ex-royals across the world they give up and get a day job! Tthey have done nothing at all for the people of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, just lived on the rents. I certainly do not think that sending an armed gang into anothe country (defined as a country whose passport you do not carry!) is a good idea, and the word “terrorist” is often applied to such people, espescially when they start killing policemen.

      As regards the Scarborough Shoal affair, I agree with you entirely!

      1. To keep harmonious relations with fellow ASEAN members, the violence should have been avoided. Kiram could have been made to stay at the negotiating table. Now there’s bad blood between Suluanons towards the Malaysian military, possibly similar to the animosity with the Philippine military.

    3. well may ponto ka diyan. pero dapat kasi hinde kaagad nag husga si pinoy na hopeless case ang cause ng mga Kirams. kung baga dinaan muna niya sa subtle diplomacy. alam mo itong mga malaysians mga smart ding mga tao ang mga ito. nahawaan na rin to ng style ng mga singaporeans. basta pinakaimportante sa lahat mali man o tama ang ginawa ng grupo ni Kiram dapat ang unang isipin ng pangulo ang depensahan ang buhay ng bawat pinoy. E sa tingin ko atat na atat ding pumatay itong mga pulis ng malaysia.

  7. well said mr writer i totally agree with you. now it is the high time kick the ass out of this useless president.

  8. LOL, now yellowtards, tell the people how do you expect your Master Abnoy to protect you from China? The issue with China is just “fishermen” intruding in Philippines sea. Sabbah’s case is a “real war” and your master abnoy “CHICKENED OUT” why don’t he used the military vehicles and equipment his administration purchased to defend Philippines territorial rights against China? Oh no there’s none and he can’t because it is all for a show.

  9. I agree with the writer, if our president really cared for us then he needs to deal with this issue, instead he treated them as nothing. I’m not even a muslim, but the thing that inspired me is they are persistent and courageous in fighting for what belongs to them. They are the first filipino, their blood and my blood are one, and as filipinos we shared one in one “adhikain”. Have we already forgot our “panatang makabayan”? we recite this every morning after our National Anthem right? Well if they’re fighter for sabah that’s because it is their and our ancestral land! wtf with our president is that he is like a fagot to take risk for our fellow filipinos out there and help them resolve the matter.

    1. yea i agree with you.i have a lot of tausug brods during my fraternity days in college. the good thing about them, is that when they have a cause, they would really fight for it no matter what. kung baga wala ng bawian. the only thing i observed was that my tausug brods and my maranao brods doesn’t seem to agree on a single cause like a simple election of officers in our fraternity/sorority. as a christian, and also a member of the same fraternity i have to abide by the bylaws of the group rather than to take side among the 2 muslim groups. on a larger note, i believe that’s what happens between the MNLF group of Misuari and the MILF group of Salamat. they came from different muslim groups hence the disunity at the onset.

  10. I wish the arguments I read here were the ones I’m hearing from the news. All I hear are blame-games, finger pointing and treatenings. The arguments here in GRP are far better than watching a group of baboons on television.

    Read all the comments, and i’ts about time we have arguments on someone who is worthed, unlike sendong girl, fishball, eduardo and all of codenames that used to troll here.

    You said that the issue on Sabah arise from the MNLF Excluded in the Bangsamoro Agreement, my question is if the Bangsamoro Agreement is aimed to a peaceful mindanao, why does it excluded other Moros? Why only the MILF? There are many groups of muslims in mindanao.

    1. Very good question!

      There are two interesting and very close parallels to the whole “Mindanao question” in Philippine politics and that is the “Irish question” in British politics and the Tibet/Xinjiang question in Chinese politics.

      In Mindanao we have the “planting” of Christian farmers from the North onto a Moslem population, until the Moslems are outnumbered; in Northern Ireland we have the “planting” of Scottish Protestant farmers onto a catholic population until they are outnumbered and in Tibet and Xinjiang we see the planting of Han Chinese onto Buddhist Tibetans and MoslemUighurs until they too have been out numbered.

      There is an old British joke that, “You cannot solve the Irish Question, because, whenever you get close to the answer, the Irish change the Question!”

      The same applies in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago; you cut a deal with one group and another one starts up, bombing and shooting and kidnapping where the last lot left off!

      I guess the assumption was that the MNLF already had their deal, but it looks like they wanted a cut of the new deal too!

      1. Hmm, I’m saying that why only cut a deal with one group, if you know the others will start a problem. Let’s say mindanao is the family, MILF and MNLF and other Moro Groups are siblings and the Framework is the Last Will and Testament of their father, The Will only states that all of the rights and properties of the family will go to one sibling, the rest will have nothing. What would you think the other siblings would feel? What would you think happen?

        1. From experience with the Irish Question, which is remarkably similar, the difficulty can lie in getting them into the same rooom together – they certainly do not trust each other and they probably hate each other more than they hate their “enemy”. They will have complex mythologies of betrayals and so on. Getting them all to agree is practically hopeless – and just as you are getting there one group goes and does a kidnapping or a bombing or a shooting…

        2. So the saying goes ” You cannot please everybody”

          From what you have said, getting them to agree is hopeless, so are you saying the Framework is useless?

          MILF or MNLF or any other group, Agreeing with one will bring hate to the others, jealousy will bring more kidnapings and bombings, so peace will never be achieve. Why settle for something that is totally useless?

          You still haven’t answered my question. OK let’s put it this way, put yourself as one of my example from above, you are the one you will get nothing, eventhough you have the same right because you are all your father’s siblings, What would you fell? Never the less, What would you do?

        3. @ Kenneth – with people like this it is not “getting nothing” it is “not getting the most”.

        4. Not getting the most? If they really getting something why are they excluded from the talks and framework?

          Lets say again that the Framework is a Will, I’m not a Lawyer nor in the field but do tell me if this is right. Is it that when a will is read to its benificiaries, all claimants must recieved a copy of the Will? Even the disinherited persons are entitled access the will and can question it validity. And a will is a public record right?

          So does the framework, why only discuss it with one group?

  11. Those who are in favor to get Sabah back may go and join the “Royal” party. Only Andrew has so far showed the coolest head among romantic bunch of you.

    1. The cooler heads here would want to avoid any further provocation to violence from both sides. You should refrain from making one.

    1. Nice try weaseling out. If that was your original meaning, it would be redundant to dare those who want to get Sabah back because they have already joined the royal party by agreeing with them. No, you meant that they go join the royal party currently in Sabah and fight and die there with them.

  12. This Sabah issue would had been handled properly has the subalterns of Pnoy advised him properly in the first place.

    I agree that what Pnoy did and said during the “crisis” were unpatriotic, and treasonous. But I also believe that Pnoy can get away with murder because of two main factors:

    (1) This Sabah issue has not been in our national consciousness for more than two generations. Yes, we have a rightful claim and the Kirams have a moral right to claim its land, but ever since the failed attempt of then President Marcos to reclaim Sabah, people, began to forget and since then nobody seems to consider the fact that Sabah is indeed Philippine territory.

    (2) The second factor for our lukewarm attitude of Sabah is its religious character. Sabah is a Muslim territory. Had Sabah been a Christian or Catholic territory, the story would be be a lot different. Our indifference towards the Sabah claim is rooted on the fact that we never consider Muslims as Filipinos or second or even third class citizens.

    The only hope of the Kirams is to fight the Malaysians (and possibly the Philippine government) and fight for independence from both Malaysia and the Philippines. Malaysia has indeed grabbed their homeland through fraud and deception while our own government betrayed them numerous times. That is why the recent fight between the forces of Malaysia and the Kiram’s group is the only logical choice and let the winner take the land.

    And as for Pnoy, he can sleep tight and not worry. He might have bungled this time, but he has the Comms Group and his cronies in the media to cover up his mistakes. After all, the two factors I mentioned above has given Pnoy much buffer to commit more blunders and acts of treachery as much as he wanted to. But history will not be kind to him and his family.

  13. This article and the comments are proof that we never really understood the issue Sabah and its history. Sadly, the media is not helping and is, in fact, spreading more lies and half truths.

    For me, Sabah is a lost cause because and the only thing that the Kiram family can do is to fight to the death. If only he have capable leaders to support him, he can claim Sabah and create another economic miracle like Singapore. The problem is: He is no Lee Kwan Yew. He is just a Sultan with no capacity to lead.

    But speaking of Sabah. Its been just revealed that one of the board member of Petron and former Director of San Miguel Corp. is Mr. Mirzan Mahathir, son of former PM of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohammad and San Miguel Corp. is currently under Pnoy’s uncle, Danding Cojuangco.

    No wonder why Malaysia was so involved in the peace process between Phl government and the MILF. the dots have been connected. Now I understood why there was so much fanfare and media exposure on the signing of the peace agreement between the MILF and the Phl government.

  14. The coming elections in Malaysia and the Philippines have become the subject of 2 conspiracy theories regarding the Sabah issue. That the government of Malaysia was behind the conflict to win votes and that the people of Gloria Arroyo are behind the conflict in Sabah to embarrass the Aquino administration. Whether both peoples of these nations will believe the rumor is anybodys guess.

    The real underlying issue in all of these according to a BBC report is the massive economic interest at stake that is coming to Mindanao as a result of becoming an autonomous region. Huge money and development and people who want to rule are positioning themselves post conflict agreement. Money, greed and power is what at stake here…not ancestral bullshits.

  15. Somebody needs to read UN Resolution 1514. When a colonial regime ends, sovereignty devolves to the people of the area in question, not to the pre-colonial rulers. The right of self-determination takes precedence over all prior claims. Legally, Sabah belongs to the people of Sabah… and really, how is that not just? Do we believe in democracy, or do we not? If we believe in democracy, how can we believe that a feudal relic like a sultan has more rights than an elected government?

    1. Can you say that to the Israelis and Palestinians? Can you say that to the Chinese, Pakistanis and the Indians to their Kashmir problem? Can you say that to the British and the Argentinians to their Falklands problem? How about our very own Scarborough and Spratley problem with our own neighbors.

      Steve, territorial dispute is not a simple problem and as nations come and go, this kind of problem will continue to exist, and persist. Territorial disputes cannot be resolved only by a majority vote as you suggested. In fact, majority vote is one of the worst method to resolve a territorial dispute because time has proven that votes can be rigged and manipulated. And how about the minority, how will they be treated?

      Territorial dispute is not just an issue of a majority vote. Its more than that. Its a process that takes time and generations to resolve.

      1. Realistically, do you think any international legal body will overturn an existing democratic government in favor of a claim based on inherited feudal title? Realistically, will any international body take 3 million people out of one country and put them in another without their consent and against their will?

        We all know that international law has a hard time overturning the status quo when the status quo is protected by aremd force. The Palestinians and Tibetans have a strong legal case but are subject to superior force. In this case the populace of the area in question lives under demcratic rule and shows no sign of discontent… is there any evidence suggesting that the people of Sabah want to be ruled by the sultan, or by the Philippine government? You can fault international law for inability to provide freedom and self-determination to the Tibetans or Palestinians, but can you criticize the system for not taking freedom and self-determination away from the Sabahans? Is it not true that ideally in a territorial dispute the prime consideration should be the political and human rights of the people in the disputed area?

        1. Territorial disputes is not a simple issue for the reason that there are many factors that has to be considered before making any decisions.

          Take our very own conflict with China. China use ancient history as their basis of their claim in Scarborough. We, on the other hand, use both history and the UNCLOS as basis.

          But when China has a territorial dispute with Japan over small islands, China used the UNCLOS.

          We are not even discussing the centuries old conflict between the Jews and the Arabs and their point of contention is not just a simple history lesson. Their religion is part of their claim.

    2. I’ll ask you Steve one simple question: Will you accept a majority vote from the Supreme Court when your own property is being encroached by your neighbor and in that majority vote, they win?

      If we cannot resolve our very own petty issue on land titles and properties with our own neighbors, and sometimes with out own relatives and family members, how can you say that a simple democratic process can resolve a complicated issue like this?

      Another thing to consider is the fact that territorial disputes are a result of conflicting interests of the powers that be and not really on the ordinary citizens who lived in the area. Had the Malaysians were fair in their payment to their Kirams, (Boy! would you like to be paid Php 70,000 a year of rent to a land as big as Sabah when a condo at Bonifacio Global City you can see a tiny winy 32 sqm condo unit being rented at more than Php 100,000 a month.) I don’t think that the Kirams would even lodge a complaint or ask for the help of the Phl government.

      And if territorial dispute is a simple majority vote as you suggested, why does the Malaysians continue to pay “rent” or “cession money” to the Kirams and not just conduct an election?

      1. The property claim of the Kirams rests of feudal title, a very dubious basis. Sovereign governments have the right to pass laws governing property. For example, in the Philippine Commonwealth period and the early years of Philippine independence Americans were allowed to own property in the Philippines. Once that law was changed, it didn’t matter how well documented any American’s claim to own property was, the right of the sovereign government to regulate property ownership took precedence. The 1963 Sabah independence process was ruled by the UN to be a legitimate exercise of self-determination, by which Sabah chose to join the Malaysian Federation. That act superseded any prior sovereignty claim under international law. Once the Malaysian federation gained sovereignty they had the right to regulate property ownership as they chose, just like any other sovereign state. It might be possible to challenge whether the 1963 process involved legitimate self-determination, but all that would get you at best is a referendum… what would be the chance of a favorable outcome for the Philippines? As long as Malaysia holds internationally recognized sovereignty over Sabah, property issues can only be resolved in Malaysian courts: no international body has the authority to resolve private property disputes within a sovereign nation.

        In modern legal and moral thinking, legitimate sovereignty derives solely from the consent of the governed populace. There might be a legal option to challenge Chinese sovereignty over Tibet, Israel’s sovereignty over Palestine, etc, thoigh any legal decision would be difficult to enforce. How do you challenge the legitimacy of sovereignty in a place where the populace regularly votes in free elections and shows no desire to change the status quo? If you accept sovereignty, how do you challenge the right of a sovereign government to govern and regulate property ownership within its territory?

        1. You see? You are using history as a basis for your argument. Since you are using history, then I ask you can you substantiate your claim that your statements are factual and documented?

          And how about the contention written by Vidal Yudin Weil of Free Malaysia Today and let me quote here:

          According to the Manila Accord signed on July 31, 1963 and registered in the United Nations as document No. 8029, then Malayan deputy prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein (late father of the present Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak) met up with foreign minister Dr Subandrio of Indonesia, and vice-president Emmanuel Pelaez of the Philippines in Manila for five days from June 7 to 11, 1963, to discuss about the status of Sabah.

          Consequently, it was agreed in writing by former Malayan prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman together with president Soekarno of Indonesia and president Diosdado Macapagal of the Philippines in paragraph 12 thereof:

          “The Philippines made it clear that its position on the inclusion of North Borneo in the Federation of Malaysia is subject to the final outcome of the Philippines’ claim to North Borneo. The ministers took note of the Philippines’ claim and the right of the Philippines to continue to pursue it in accordance with international law and the principle of the pacific settlement of disputes. They agreed that the inclusion of North Borneo in the Federation of Malaysia would not prejudice either the claim or any right thereunder. Moreover, in the context of their close association, the three countries agreed to exert their best endeavours to bring the claim to a just and expeditious solution by peaceful means, such as negotiation, conciliation, arbitration, or judicial settlement as well as other peaceful means of the parties’ own choice, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and the Bandung Declaration.”

          Subsequently on Aug 5, 1963 in a joint statement released to international media, the same also agreed in writing under paragraph 8 thereof:

          “In accordance with paragraph 12 of the Manila Accord, the three Heads of Government decided to request the British Government to agree to seek a just and expeditious solution to the dispute between the British Government and the Philippines Government concerning Sabah (North Borneo) by means of negotiation, conciliation and arbitration, judicial settlement, or other peaceful means of the parties’ own choice in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations. The three Heads of Government take cognizance of the position regarding the Philippines claim to Sabah (North Borneo) after the establishment of the Federation of Malaysia as provided under paragraph 12 of the Manila Accord, that is, that the inclusion of Sabah (North Borneo) in the Federation of Malaysia does not prejudice either the claim or any right thereunder.”

          It was undoubtedly stated from the above provisions of the Manila Accord and joint statement that:

          the inclusion of Sabah into the formation of Malaysia is subject to the Philippines claim; and

          the Philippines’ claim on Sabah must be settled in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) run by the United Nations.

          Therefore, until such time when the ICJ has decided, Malaysia does not have absolute ownership of Sabah.

          You can read it at

        2. Look at the ICJ decision on a closely related case:

          “…in light of the clear exercise by the people of North Borneo of their right to self-determination, it cannot matter whether this Court, in any interpretation it might give to any historic instrument or efficacy, sustains or not the Philippines claim to historic title. Modern international law does not recognize the survival of a right of sovereignty based solely on historic title; not, in any event, after an exercise of self-determination conducted in accordance with the requisites of international law, the bona fides of which has received international recognition by the political organs of the United Nations. Against this, historic claims and feudal pre-colonial titles are mere relics of another international legal era, one that ended with the setting of the sun on the age of colonial imperium.

          …The lands and people claimed by the Philippines formerly constituted most of an integral British dependency. In accordance with the law pertaining to decolonization, its population exercised their right of self-determination. What remains is no mere boundary dispute. It is an attempt to keep alive a right to reverse the free and fair decision taken almost 40 years ago by the people of North Borneo in the exercise of their legal right to self-determination. The Court cannot be a witting party to that.”

          That was not a decision on the Philippine Sabah claim, it was a decision on a Philippine attempt to intervene in a case between Malaysia and Indonesia, but it gives a strong indication of how the court would approach a case over the claim. The key principle is that the exercise of self-determination takes precedence over any prior agreement. If the 1963 process is accepted as a legitimate exercise of the right to self-determination, it would negate the Manila Accord and any other prior agreement. That actually seems quite fair to me: is it not right that the future of Sabah would be determined by Sabahans, not by any collection of regional leaders?

          One of the great weaknesses of the Philippine claim is that it treats the population of Sabah as chattel, an incidental inconvenience to what is essentially a property dispute. In any actual proceedings the political and human rights of the populace will be the central concern. Unfortunately for the Philippines claim, the people of Sabah have never shown any interest in being ruled by a sultan or by the Philippines.

  16. Now Steve, how can you counter that?

    Again, I personally don’t really give much thought about the issue for the reasons I mentioned in my first comment on this thread. We are not being taught by our schools that Sabah is Philippine territory and the mere fact that its a Muslim territory makes it even more obscure.

    But we can never deny the fact that we will be dragged by this issue for years to come. Again, territorial disputes are by no means a simple dispute that can be resolved by a mere democratic process, or any process for that matter. As long as we are alive and there are nations and conflicting interests, this will continue. Each territorial dispute must be treated differently and we have to consider the temperament and the culture of the people involved and not just a simple majority vote. We can just hope that they can find a solution .

    1. The International Court of Justice “is competent to entertain a dispute only if the States concerned have accepted its jurisdiction” according to their own description as to how the court works.

      In the case of Malaysia versus Indonesia over the Sipadan and Ligitan islands, the ICJ 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.

      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 thereby making ownership of the two islands ours as well.

      Consider this: if, in a court case, both sides of the legal proceeding deliberately conceal evidence with the intention of misleading the judges, how legitimate is a judgment which was rendered in ignorance?

      1. Did you actually read the decision? It wasn’t disallowed because Malaysia and Indonesia accepted, it was disallowed for the reasons explained in the decision.

        The Philippine case has two major flaws. First, it rests entirely on a move to restore inherited feudal title or a claim ceded from holders of inherited feudal title. The whole concept of inherited feudal claim is discredited and obsolete and has close to zero legitimacy. Second, the Philippine claim treats the case as a property dispute, with no regard for the populace… hence all the talk about who “owns” Sabah. If you look at decisions on territorial disputes, the political and human rights of the populace of the disputed area are always the core of the decision. If the 1963 decolonization is ruled a legitimate exercise of self-determination, there is no case, because self-determination takes precedence over any prior claim. Even if you could prove that the 1963 process was flawed (hard to do 50 years later), the absolute best you could get would be a referendum. There is absolutely zero chance that ICJ will take 3 million people out of one country and put them in another without their consent, it would be considered a massive violation of their rights. What chance of a favorable outcome would the Philippines have in a referendum?

        Again, it’s not about “ownership”, it’s about the legitimate right to sovereignty, which in modern legal and political thought emanates only from the consent of the governed populace. It’s about people, not property. Any legal case will not be decided on the basis of who presents the best evidence for ownership, it will be decided on the basis of what disposition best meets the preferences of the people.

        Really, if we believe in democracy, isn’t that the way it should be?

  17. …There is a substantive difference between the situation in the Scarborough Shoals and Sabah. Firstly Philippines is in a group of countries making various claims in the China Sea. It is alone in Sabah. The historical claims in the China sea can be disputed and there is no population as such to apply the rule of self determination. In Sabah there are generations of people that can and will say they live in Malaysia…even filipino. So your president is not necessarily being inconsistent in his position.

    This article is a load of jingoistic claptrap aimed at the domestic audience…much like many of the articles in filipino newspapers…he talks of using fighter aircraft against 200 people conveniently ignoring the ongoing statements over the period that thousands of experienced combatants were on the way to Sabah.

    What is the point about the Malaysian pilot hitting Malaysians troops?..Its not stated but obviously only to say ..see how stupid the Malaysians are?

    There is no evidence presented anywhere by anyone that excessive use of force has been used on individuals or that widespread violations of human rights has occurred. Where are all the horror stories and bodybags?

    As for the “international ” experts in the article…It is hard to believe with the statements that their expertise is of much value. Makes me think of Senator Santiago…I look forward to her showing her expertise when she takes up her position on the International Court. I hope for the Philippines she doesn’t perform like she did at the Corona impeachment.

    Whether there is a legitimate claim to Sabah may still yet be decided…but filipino’s do themselves no favours by gobbing off like they always do assuming (and or pretending) that they are the injured party) Don’t ever forget the boy who cried wolf. .

    1. Wow, what a position! With China, we move! With Malaysia, no move?

      You, what is your proposal with regard to this issue? Ha?

      I wrote this article not as a Filipino, but as a humanist and a Marxist revolutionary!

      How about you! You wrote these comments as what?

  18. On the issue vs China the Philippine position has a sound legal foundation under UNCLOS. The Philippine position on Sabah has practically no basis at all and is directly contrary to UN Resolution 1514 and the principle of self-determination. Not that I’d expect a “Marxist Revolutionary” to have much common sense or awareness of the realities of international law, but surely any objective observer can realize this…

      1. Actually, all of you don’t understand the complexity of territorial disputes. It only shows your naivete and lack of understanding about foreign relations and geopolitics.

        I’m no expert in international relations but I’m no fool and not naive to think that this is a simple issue on who has the right to claim a territory, be it a big chunk of real estate, or a tiny winy island.

        1. It is precisely a dispute over “who has the right to claim a territory”. That doesn’t mean it’s simple, but the bases of any legal decision are clear enough. Of course if it goes extralegal that is very complex indeed, but that’s not likely to happen in any organized large-scale sense any time soon.

          Before yoy assume that others are uninformed or naive, you might want to explain the supposed complexities that you believe are influencing the situation.

  19. Whether the initial agreement was a lease or a cession is not really that significant. Once the 1963 decolonization process was accepted as a valid exercise of self-determination, it would supersede any prior agreement. UN Resolution 1514, which lays down procedures for decolonization, makes no provision for the return of a colony to pre-colonial rulers or their heirs or assignees. The future disposition of the territory is up to the population to decide.

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