POINTERS ON PHILIPPINE SOVEREIGNTY OVER SABAH
1. Sulu Sultanate Sovereignty over Sabah.
Since pre-colonial times, the Sulu sultanate had ruled andowned Sabah. In one account, it was granted the north-eastern part of the territory as a prize for helpingthe Sultan of Brunei against his enemies and from then on that part of Borneo was recognized as part of the Sultan of Sulu's sovereignty. The Sabah people of Mindanao ancestry, especially the Tausugs andBadjaos, were the main political base of the Sulu sultanate. The Chief Justice C. F. C. Macaskie of North Borneo recognized the proprietary rights of the Sulu sultanate in a ruling in 1939 in a relatedcivil suit about the payment of rent (padyak) to the heirs of the sultan of Sulu.2
. People of Mindanao Ancestry in Sabah.
Since time immemorial, the Badjaos, Tausugs, Samals,Iranons and other people from Mindanao have migrated to Sabah. The biggest inflow of people fromMindanao to Sabah occurred during the hostilities between the Manila government and MNLF. Thiscoincided with Tun Mustapha's (a Badjao) relying on people of Mindanao ancestry for politicalsupport. People of Mindanao ancestry comprise the biggest bloc, if not the majority of the population inSabah. Next in size are the people of Chinese origin, comprising 13 per cent of the population. Theindigenous people other than those of Mindanao ancestry are divided into so many small tribes.Since pre-colonial times, the Sulu sultanate had ruled and owned Sabah.2.
1878 Lease Agreement.
On 22 January 1878, an agreement was signed between the Sultanate of Sulu and the British commercial syndicate (Alfred Dent and Baron von Overback), which stipulatedthat the former was leasing (padyak) North Borneo (Sabah) to the latter in return for payment of 5000Malayan Dollar per year. On 22 April 1903 Sultan Jamalul Kiram signed a document leasingadditional islands in the vicinity of the mainland of North Borneo from m Banggi island to Sibuku Bayto British North Borneo Company. The sum 5,000 dollars a year payable every year increased to 5,300dollars a year payable every year. The British wrongly translate the padyak as cession, instead of lease. Every year, the Malaysian Embassy in the Philippines issues a check in the amount of 5,300ringgit (US$1710 or about 77,000 Philippine pesos) to the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu.3.
Madrid Protocol of 1885.
The Sultanate of Sulu came under the control of Spain in the 1980s andwas forced to sign a document giving all of the Sultan's properties in Palawan and Sulu — excluding North Borneo — to Spain.
But in 1885, Great Britain, Germany and Spain signed the Madrid Protocolto cement Spanish influence over the islands of the Philippines. In the same agreement, Spainrenounced all claims of sovereignty over the territories of the Borneo which had belonged to the Sultanof Sulu (Jolo), and which comprised the neighbouring islands of Balambangan, Banguey, andMalawali, as well as all those within a zone of three maritime leagues from the coast, and whichformed part of the territories administered by the British North Borneo Company. Nevertheless,Chavacano-speaking migrants earlier brought by the Spanish to Sabah stayed on.4.
US Reminders and Philippine Constitution of 1935.
In 1906 and in 1920, the United Stateofficially reminded Great Britain that North Borneo did not belong to the Crown and was still part of the Sultanate of Sulu. Even then, the British turned Sabah into a Crown Colony on July 10, 1946. ThePhilippine Constitution of 1935 states that the national territory of the Philippines included, amongother things, "all other areas which belong to the Philippines on the basis of historical rights or legalclaims". Even before Sabah was incorporated into Malaysia in 1963, the Philippines had sentdelegations to London reminding the British Crown that Sabah belonged to the Philippines.5.
Cession of Sovereignty to the Republic of the Philippines.
On 12 September 1962, duringPresident Diosdado Macapagal's regime, the territory of North Borneo or Sabah and the fullsovereignty, title and dominion over the territory were ceded by the then reigning Sultan of Sulu, HM