Bongbong Marcos urges former president Benigno Aquino III to protect the Sultanate of Sulu’s men during the Lahad Datu standoff. This plea was ignored. Marcos insists that despite the incompetence of Aquino, his father’s Sabah claim must be pursued. This is supported by the current administration that irked Malaysia nowadays.
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[VIDEO]: Philippine President-elect Rody Duterte maintains the government’s policy that Sabah is part of the province of Sulu, even though the UN recognizes the territory as part of Malaysia.
The late and former Senator Jovito R. Salonga argues that the heirs of the sultan, including the late Jamalul D. Kiram III, do not possess absolute sovereignty over Sabah. He wrongly states that Sabah is not a part of the Philippine territory because it has no historical, legal and moral basis. Salonga even urged Malaysia to stop paying rent to the Kiram family in 1963. This is when the Sabahans voted to be part of Malaysia due allegedly to grieve threats to deport them. The question is, if Sabah is not owned by the Philippines, why is Malaysia paying rent even until now?
Senator Francis Escudero states his opinion that the Sabah claim is a personal issue involving the sultan of Sulu. For him, the fight is a private right and a private claim. He also denounces to acknowledged that Sabah is part of the Philippines. Escudero believed that the sultan is bullied and heirs should fight their own battle without relying on the government and inciting nationalist sentiment. Is he trying to avoid critics for deciding to stay in the middle?
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The late and also ex-senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr on Aug 21, 1983, promised Malaysian authorities that the Philippines would drop its claim over Sabah. This is in exchange for its support in the move to oust his presidential rival, Marcos. The evident proof of Ninoy’s pledge to Malaysia is found in the 1987 Constitution. It is written during the presidency of his widow, Corazon Aquino.
Cory Aquino honors her husband’s commitment to Malaysia because she needed support from the ASEAN nations to make her ascendancy to the presidency legitimate through the people power revolution. The 1987 Constitution amended the first article of the 1973 Constitution and removed the phrase, and all other territories belonging to the Philippines by historic right or legal title. The 1987 Constitution revised the definition of Philippine territory and deleted Sabah as a historic claim backed up by the legal title pertaining to the Sultanate of Sulu. On March 10, 2009, president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed an R.A. 9522, amending R.A. 5446, which removes the mentioning of Sabah or North Borneo in the Archipelagic Baselines of the Philippines law. The removal of the specific reference to Sabah creates a blow for the Sultanate of Sulu. Princess Jacel Kiram, the daughter of Jamalul Kiram III, accused the Aquino administration of protecting the interests of Malaysia instead of his own Filipino people.