Sabah crisis shows Aquino’s disregard for life and PH sovereignty

Karapatan is immensely saddened by the loss of lives of our Moro brethren in the bloody encounter at Lahad Datu town in Sabah as it finds insensitive and reckless, and therefore unforgivable, the handling of the Aquino government of the issue. 

Instead of interceding for the Filipino Muslims through an urgent and diligent negotiation with the Malaysian government for a peaceful resolution of the issue, Aquino ordered a pullout of the Sultan’s Royal Army from Sabah, saying “surrender now without conditions.”

Karapatan is no longer surprised with the Aquino government’s wanton disregard for life. The raw statistics of the 137 victims of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino government is stark evidence. 

Aquino’s posturing on the Sabah issue is no different from the positions he has taken in behalf of the big transnational corporations, the landlords and the big business. He has spoken on behalf of their interest to take control of the Filipino people’s mineral and other resources; of the industries and entities that provide basic services to the people; of the US government’s interest in Asia-Pacific by fanning anti-China sentiments. Aquino is the spokesperson of all these interest groups but he has never spoken in behalf of the poor and marginalized Filipinos. 

One can only make a guess on what transpired during the meeting between Pres. Aquino and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. For after that, Razak sounded off his decision to give Sultan Jamalul Kiram’s group two options: surrender or face the consequences at the hands of the Malaysian security forces. This seems to coincide with Malacanang’s position that the best and only correct thing to do is surrender. Even after the death of the followers of the Sultanate of Sulu in the firefight that transpired, the Aquino government continued to hold fast to its position that the best thing to do is surrender. 

The Sabah claim dates back to the early 1900s, although the Sulu Sultanate is historically older than the Philippine nation state and Sabah of Malaysian Federation. In the 1960s, the Philippines pressed a sovereign claim to the territory but this has remained dormant since then. The Aquino government seems oblivious to this, throwing away whatever sense of history it has. 

Obviously, Aquino’s position to the issue is in contrast to this hubris attitude with China, in the claim for the unpopulated Scarborough strip of islands.  

By his action, Aquino completely surrendered the historic claim of the Philippines to Sabah. Worse, he has abandoned his responsibility to protect his constituents, in this particular case, his Moro constituents. His action manifests the height of apathy to the Moro people’s struggle for self-determination, a puppet’s surrender of the country’s sovereign right, and a weakling’s consequent   fascist tendencies.