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LESSONS FROM THE PAST | Philippine claim over Sabah is solid - Salonga

By: Veronica C. Uy, March 4, 2013 12:43 AM The online news portal of TV5 MANILA The Philippine claim over Sabah is solid. Thus said eminent statesman Jovito Salonga 50 years ago, in his speech as then congressman and chairman of the Legal Committtee of the Philippine Delegation to the Anglo-Philippine Talks held in London. The speech, delivered on radio and television on March 30, 1963, was a point-by-point reply to the report of then Senator Lorenzo Sumulong on the Philippine claim to Sabah (also known as North Borneo). Read the transcript of Mr. Salonga's speech here. Context At the time, the Federation of Malaysia was scheduled to be formally created on August 31, 1963 from the states of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo. The plan was for the four states to have coequal standing in the federation. Singapore would become an independent state on August 9, 1965. The speech was made to assert the Philippine claim during this time, and revive the claim after Britain claimed sovereign rights over Sabah shortly after Philippines' independence from the United States. Salonga headed the team that went to London to pore over the documents related to the Philippines' Sabah claim. Salonga would later become Senate President in the post-EDSA People Power Revolt and preside at the historic 1991 Senate vote that ended nearly a century of US bases presence in the Philippines. In 1963, he cited the following proofs and arguments that Sabah remained under the dominion and sovereignty of the Sultan of Sulu: 1. In 1881, when the Spanish and Dutch governments protested the award of the Royal Charter to the British North Borneo Company, the British clarified that "sovereignty remains with the Sultan of Sulu" and that the company was merely an administrative authority. Salonga recalled that Baron de Overbeck, the Austrian "adventurer" who persuaded the Sultan of Sulu in 1878 to lease Sabah to him for an annual rent of 5,000 Malaysian dollars, sold his rights to Alfred Dent, the English merchant who started the British North Borneo Co. Dent thus assumed all the rights and obligations under the 1878 contract. 2. In 1946, the company "transferred all its rights and obligations to the British Crown." To this, Salonga said the company - as well as the heirs of Overbeck and Dent - is not a sovereign entity and therefore could not acquire "dominion and sovereignty" over the island. He cited "authoritative British and Spanish documents" showing so.

The company's "rights were as those indicated in the basic contract... that of lessee and a mere delegate," he said. 3. North Borneo was never part of British territory and its people were never British subjects until July 10, 1946, or six days after Philippines independence, when Britain unlawfully "asserted full sovereign rights over" the island. But "in accordance with established precedents in International Law, the assertion of sovereign rights by the British Crown in 1946, in complete disregard of the contract of 1878 and their solemn commitments did not and cannot produce legal results in the force of a new title," according to Salonga. This even prompted former American Governor-General F.B. Harrison, then Special Adviser to the Philippine Government on Foreign Affairs, "to denounce the cession order as a unilateral set in violation of legal right." Four years after, in 1950, then Congressman Diosdado Macapagal, along with Congressmen Arsenio Lacson and Arturo Tolentino, sponsored a resolution urging the formal institution of the claim to Sabah. 4. Sabah thus cannot be part of the Federation of Malaysia as "conceived, inspired, and sponsored" by the British. At that time in 1962, then President Diosdado Macapagal filed a claim over Sabah after the House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution urging him to recover the island. 5. However, Salonga also noted that the Sultan of Sulu or his heirs cannot make a claim over Sabah before the International Court of Justice because "only States may be parties in cases before the Court," as per Chapter 2, Article 34, paragraph 1 of the Statute of ICJ, in relation Chapter 14 of the UN Charter. Salonga's arguments concluded thus: "The claim for North Borneo is not of the President, the Liberal Party, nor of his Administration, but a claim of the entire Republic, based on respect for the rule of law, the sacredness of facts, and the relentless logic of our situation in this part of the world." Read the full transcript of Mr. Salonga's speech here.

Fatima Shehan Kiram Idjirani Manila, Philippines Our family sent two letters on separate dates and the government claims that it was "lost in the maze". The letter is not "Maalala mo Kaya" as some describe it. It is about our family seeking help and support from the government in regard to the claim and unfortunately we did not receive any reply and worst was we received this kind of gesture. Another point was that on his first few months as president, he will be brief with regard to the ongoing issues that he had inherited from the previous administrations. Former president FVR wrote a recent article titled Philippines - Sulu - Malaysia - Sabah - Asean (FIRST OF TWO PARTS) On Empowering The Filipino, he added (1) Lets remember BIMP -EAGA is reality on the ground with support from the Asian Development Bank; (2) Younger descendants of the Sulu Sultanate are capable of managing the proposed Corporation equally as well as Christian/Lumad contemporaries in Mindanao-Palawan; and (3) SULTAN JAMALUL KIRAM III IS AN HONORABLE FILIPINO, BUT IS RELATIVELY POOR (PHILIPPINE AND MALAYSIAN DIPLOMATS SHOULD VISIT MAHARLIKA VILLAGE, TAGUIG CITY AND MAIMBUNG, SULU WHICH ARE SULTANATE CENTERS). People who says "go home" read this article so that you will be well immersed with some parts of the history. How dare you describe our plight when you based it from ignorance and lack of total proprietary about the issue.

Raymond Kang Wei Tay Fresh Meadows, New York It is not a lease. Technically, the lease agreement was with British North Borneo Company and the King of Sulu (your ancestors). That company has then ceded Sabah to the British. Both entities no longer exist (Sulu ceded its claim of Sabah to the Philippines

and the British North Borneo Company no longer operating). There was no assignment or notation to the original lease that binds Malaysia (i.e. the lease agreement did not say Malaysia must pay RM5000 per year. It said the Company must pay the Sulu Sultanate). Therefore, Malaysia is not contractually obligated pay anything at all. Payments to Sulu, if this has not been done already, should be classified as ex-gratia payments, which is why the Malaysian government have been paying that money to your family until this very day, per 1939 civil suit filed in Jesselton. Having said that, I personally feel that it's too low of a payment and therefore should be adjusted to current inflation level, not 1878 value anymore. Furthermore, the lease agreement stated that the lease over Sabah cannot be transferred to any other entity except for the heirs of the Company. That means technically the British cannot be a party to the lease and has no right to "transfer" the lease to Malaysia. The formation of Malaysia and the sovereignty of her states including Sabah has been recognised by the UN. A recognition by the UN is as good as gold. So you see from the stand point of the Malaysia, Sabah is rightfully hers to begin with and the Philippines or the lame King of Sulu as no rights over Sabah. I hope this will educate you a little as to why Sabah has always been, since 1964, a part of Malaysia and its sovereignty. From now on, stop saying Sabah is a lease from the Sulu. You are just playing into your family's hands because of greed. If your uncle is true to his thinking, he should at least have taken the effort to send 10,000+ men supplied well with food, arms and ammo, and then they may have chances of surviving any onslaught. Being old, perhaps close to senile stages advised only by a girl calling herself princess - I am not even aware to this day we have our own living Cinderella, he was willing to risk the lives of 230 men? As much as I hate to say this, sunset is about to dwarf this old man. The sad thing too is, when this is all over, Sabah will still be in the hands of Malaysia and casualties from both sides will still be dead all for nothing. As far as your defunct kingdom is concerned, pray tell me how many people come up and tried to claim the "throne"? Therefore, why Sabahans should even accept your uncle as their ruler when these throne claims by random people have not been sorted out yet? Having said that too, I'm well aware of the fact that the Malaysian government had been pretty much supporting the Moro separatists back in the 70's by acting as proxy between Libya and Moro in terms of arms supplies, but that was because Pnoy's father had exposed Marcos' plot (Operation Merdeka) to annex Sabah by using your own people to destabilize it, resulting in the Jabidah massacre. Those Tausug soldiers that died in Corregeidor gave up their lives because they refused to fight against fellow Sabahan Muslims, as well as possibly killing their own relatives there as well. So please, tell your relatives to stop terrorizing Sabah because it'll result in more blood on your family's hands. Reply Like 10 hours ago Art Gabuyog Top Commenter Works at Demag Cranes Nkuha na sana ng Pilipinas yan nun panahon ni Marcos kundi nag traydor itong tatay ni PNOY at ibinuko yun operation MERDEKA nun kaya pumalpak yun plano. Nagyon ay ang SPRATLY naman ang ipinamimigay ng anak sa China. Wala talagang malasakit ang angkan na yan sa BANSA. Di bale mapahamak ang bayan basta magkamal lang sila ng kapangyariahan at monopolya sa negosyo at pamulitika ng BANSA..... Kasabwat nila sa kalokohan ang ABS-CBN sa panloloko sa taumbayan! Reply 26 Like Follow Post 14 hours ago Gani S. Garcia Ibig sabihin sumasangayon ka na tama ang pagpatay ni Marcos sa lahat ng mga Muslim na kasali sa lihim na pagsasanay militar sa isla ng Corregidor para salakayin ang Sabah. Nabuko lang ang operation MERDEKA ng isa sa mga MUslim ang nakaligtas sa tinatawag na Jabidah Massacre? At ito ang ibinunyag ni Ninoy sa madla at Senado. At ito rin ang naging hudyat ng MNLF secessionist movement sa Mindanao na tumagal ng mahigit na apat na dekada. Ang ibig sabihin lamang na ito, ay na una ang pagpatay ng mga Muslim na Filipino ni Marcos bago pa man ibinuko ni Ninoy sa Senado. Ito ay kabaliktaran sa iyong kaalaman na binuko ni Ninoy ang operation MERDEKA at napilitang isara ang operasyon ng militar. Dahil kung ganon, marami sanang Muslim na Filipino ang nailigtas sa mga kamay ng sarili nating militar, at hindi lamang iisa. Ito ang isang kamalian ni Marcos na nagbigay pasakit sa tatlong henerasyon ng mga Muslim na Filipino sa Mindanao at sa mga pamilya ng mga sundalong Filipino na nagbuwis ng buhay para pangalagaan ang estado ng Pilipinas. Sa tingin mo sino ang traydor at sino ang berdugo? Reply 5 Like 10 hours ago Top Commenter University of Mindanao, Davao City

Gani...may mutiny na nangyari kaya napilitan na patayin..It is a topsecret mission..ipinagpatuloy pa rin sana ang Merdeka even after the massacre...Ganun din ksi..kumbaga tama rin si Marcos na salakayin...see? what happen? ganun din..mga muslim sumalakay pa rin..after 50 years, advance na advance si ganun pa rin ang mangyayar.. Reply 3 Like 7 hours ago

Ralph Laurenciana Dela Cruz Follow Hair and Makeup Artist at Hair and Makeup Specialist and beyond 342 subscribers "The claim for North Borneo is not of the President, the Liberal Party, nor of his Administration, but a claim of the entire Republic, based on respect for the rule of law, the sacredness of facts, and the relentless logic of our situation in this part of the world." -Jovito Salonga. Reply 26 Like Follow Post 21 hours ago Willy Delos Santos Wenceslao Kalookan high school base noong 1881 atin naman pala itong sabah at mayroong effort na ginawa noong 1963..ano pa hinihintay natin teritoryo pala natin ang sabah di ba dapat lang amg atin ay para sa atin sayang angginawa ng mga mambabatas noon na manindigan para dito..ano ang mga pinag gagawa ng mga nakalipas na administrasyon after marcos...big question yan sa inyo mga nanungkulan after marcos adm. hwag naman sanang hayaan nating panakaw na naman yan tulad ng ginagawa sa atin ng china . Reply 8 Like Follow Post Edited 20 hours ago Choy De Vega Top Commenter San Jose, California Sa aking pananaw ka Willy, noong panahon na yon abala sila kong papaano dudurugin si Marcos, yan ang focus nila. Wala na silang pakialam sa ibang issue na hindi naman sila ma bebenifit. Sa madalit sabi bumagsak si Marcos noong 1986. Anong nangyari. Kanya kanyang hanap ng position sa gobyerno para ma-satisfy yung pinuhunan nilang sakripisyo sa pagbagsk ni Macoy at pag-ani ng papuri. Ang akala ko ginawa nila yon para sa bayan. Ngayon very proud sila sa EDSA celebration. Is there patriotism among this present crop of politicians? Tsk, tsk, tsk, sayang. Reply 9 Like Willy Delos Santos Wenceslao Kalookan high school Choy De Vega .. may punto ka dyan talaga kasamang choy ..sayang yung na build up na image ni PNOY noong una bilang darling ng masa ..problema nito ngayon yung mga advisers nya di accurate ang mga pinagsasabi kay PNOY bakit nid nya maging pusong bato sa sultanate ..mga pinoy yun na may paninindigan, pinaglalaban ang karapatan ..the president needs an unsolicited advise sa isyu ng sitwasyon sa sabah, spratly, scarborough ..bakit may trillanes na nid kumilos to pacify d tension in d west phil sea ..bakit walang representation ang muslim pipol sa gabinete pra sana maintindihan ni PNOY ang totoong nangyayari madaling salita may dunong ang mga miyembro ng gabinete pero kulang sa tamang diskarte..kinakalawang na talaga !! kaya nid ng ibang tao na labas sa gabinete ang mag payo kay PNOY. Reply Like 34 minutes ago Silvester Flores Top Commenter Agronomist-scadinavian culture CLAIMING SABAH through DIPLOMATIC channels is the RIGHT and CIVILIZE ways of DOING SO----USING GUNS as a TOOLS is a DESPERATE method which CAN be DEALT with DESPERATE RESPONSE -----ARM MEN will NOT GET SUPPORT both LOCAL and International. This conclusion is WHAT HAPPENING NOW in the ground of Lahad Datu and Simporna-----Our Muslim brothesr HAD a HISTORY of VIOLENT and GUN culture in the past against the Philippine government and this BEHAVIOR will REFLECT the RESPONSE both in Malaysia and Philippines----The SULTANATE have to WORK with Philippine government and Bangsa-Moro to STRENGTENED its POSITION---VERY SAD indid that our MUSLIM BROTHERS have a HARD TIME to GET ATTENTION of their FIGHT----Reply Like Follow Post 7 hours ago Pierre Angelo Leviste Top Commenter Ateneo de Manila University all media should join forces and make this article an awareness to all Filipinos that Sabah is really for the Philippines. This has been neglected many decades after Marcos admin. Ngayon naman, yung Spratlys, mukhang mawawala pa sa atin dahil din sa isa nanamang Aquino. Reply Like Follow Post 8 hours ago Willy Delos Santos Wenceslao Kalookan high school PANAWAGAN sa ating mahal na pres. PNOY sir pls naman reconsider your descission na papa aresto nyo ang mga participants doon sa sabah wag naman muna sana..paano nga naman mag sisi uwi yan kung ganyan ang tratong dadatnan nila dito sa pinas..kailangan nila ng tapik sa likod para sa repubilka ang ginagawa nila..giv them a safe passage to com hom first at agad na mag usap with an utmost respect..may sulat naman pala na pinadala sa inyo..for the representation of the

case at di makatwiran naman na yun ay mawala pa...sana po pinatawag nyo na lang ang sultanate at pinag usapan ng maayos.. Reply Like Follow Post 28 minutes ago Ismael Mathay Sr. Follow Top Commenter Gsis village high school 764 subscribers wonder why no one seems to care for and about d sultanate of Sulu and d Kiram family. but no one seems to understand that God is protecting them. this is a suicidal reclaim and I personally salute d royal family and royal army. If they win, just amalgamate Sultanate of Sulu and Sabah as a new country. It is pointless to cede Sabah as a province of the Philippines because our government and armed forces are not supporting and protecting them as per d 1987 cory constitution. here's hoping that d NPA will help our royal family. Forget Abu Sayyaf or MILF or MNLF or MMFF [metro manila film festival]. Cheers to the new country of Bangsamoro. Cheers for the new Malvinas [Falklands or Kiramlands] GOD bless the Kirams. Reply Like Follow Post 9 hours ago