Politics is a numbers game

Politics is a numbers game. The propaganda team and supporters of President Duterte keep on repeating that 16.6 million people voted for him for president. But that is NOT even a majority vote. Mr. Duterte got only 39.01% of the electoral votes. MORE people voted AGAINST him. Ex-President Aquino got a much bigger percentage — 42.08%– of the people’s votes. And he won on a bigger spread over his rival ex Pres. Estrada – 42.08% over 26.25% – as compared to Duterte’s win over Mar Roxas: 39.01% over 23.45%.  The two presidents previous to Mr. Aquino also got more percentage votes than Mr. Duterte. Ex-President Arroyo got 39.99% and ex-Pres. Estrada got 39.86%.  So what in the world is Mr. Duterte so proud of???!!!

Numbers Speak

And his peace and security policies? After only one year in office, he created a lot of havoc — tens of thousands killed and wounded and hundreds of thousands displaced. And of course, nothing can top the Rape of Marawi — the destruction of a city, billions of dollars worth of buildings and infrastructure destroyed, and billions of pesos looted by the soldiers from the houses of the residents of the city who were forced to leave their homes due to the proclamation of Martial Law, the orders of the provincial leaders and the threat of aerial bombing.

duterte-year-1a

The economic numbers are not good, too.

deficits graph-5

And the value of the peso keeps on sliding down relative to the US dollar (the value of the US dollar keeps on going up):
pesomax 1

Yet other Asian currencies are doing very well against the US dollar!
asian currency vs dollar

So who are those people saying that Philippine economy is doing great?! With the prices of goods and services going up due to the new tax regime, the poorer fans of Mr. Duterte might just abandon their idol if they can’t make both ends meet for their families.

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Bangsa Moro Homeland — the Impossible Dream

 

Would you negotiate with a pushover? Yes, but only to get even more advantages. The Spaniards only negotiated with the Moro sultanates when they realized they couldn’t defeat them. The Americans signed treaties with the Sulu Sultanate when their hands were full with the Philippine revolution in Luzon. Afterwards, they massacred the people of Sulu in Bud Dajo and Bud Bagsak, among others. During the Philippine Republic, the government dealt with Moro rebellions with an iron hand like in the Kamlon rebellion and the various massacres in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

It was only in 1976 when the MNLF were giving the Philippine Armed Forces a very rough time that the government sued for peace. It was the Philippines who begged for a peace agreement in 1976, which resulted in the Tripoli Agreement. But the diabolical Marcos reneged on the agreement on the excuse of “constitutional processes”.

With the expulsion of Marcos and the national enthusiasm for renewed peace and democracy in a new constitution, an Organic Act for an Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was created. But again, the craftiness of Filipino political leaders, with the collusion of the Supreme Court, the ARMM became a totally powerless and inutile institution. It is certainly not what the thousands of martyred Moros, and tens of thousands of mujahideens fought for and millions of Moros dreamed of.

In 1996, President Ramos wanted to have peace in Mindanao. With the help of USA and Libya’s Qaddafi, MNLF’s Nur Misuari was strong-armed to accept a “Final Peace Agreement”. Again, it was a dud.

Meanwhile the MILF gathered strength and showed its might once in a while. President Arroyo, in order to co-opt the MILF leaders, held long-term negotiations while supplying arms and materiel to the warlord Ampatuan, who was her leverage against the MILF.

The MOA-AD between Arroyo’s government and the MILF was turned down by the Filipino people, including the Supreme Court.

President Aquino followed Ms. Aquino’s tactics. He tied up the MILF to long-term negotiations only to have its BBL turned upside down by Congress/Senate and the Filipino people.

President Duterte, who claims to be pro-Moro, promised a BBL and two Moro federal states – one each for MNLF and MILF. But before all that, he bombed Marawi to kingdom come on the pretext that a couple hundred of Mranaos, mostly from the Maute clan, are actually ISIS fighters and had taken over the city.

The MNLF and MILF supported the Philippine government. Otherwise, they could lose the promised federal states. And the Moro political leaders all kowtowed to Mr. Duterte.

The Islamic City of Marawi was totally bombed out by military jets and howitzer cannons and tanks and what-not, including drones from dear old USA, supposedly an enemy of Mr. Duterte. And the houses were looted. The Rape of Marawi continued for months. And even after the government declared victory, the residents were not allowed to return. So many innocent civilians died at the hands of th military.

The government now plans to have its military occupy the city and dispossess further the residents of their lands by proclaiming most of the city as public domain.

Yet, in spite of all these, some Moros are still hoping that the government will give them a good, powerful BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) that would create an autonomous sub-state or even a federal state.

Now, how could the Moros or Muslim Filipinos or Muslims in the Philippines expect or hope that the Philippine government, Congress /Senate and the Christian Filipino people give them REAL autonomy or REAL sub-state status or REAL Federal state rights or a powerful BBL??

Why in the world will the Philippine government, Congress and the Christian Filipino people give them anything when they think (and because of the Rape of Marawi, they think they KNOW for sure) that they can just bomb the Moro cities and provinces into oblivion any time they want!!! And so-called Moro revolutionary groups and so-called Moro political leaders and their non-(critical) thinking supporters will even applaud them for it!!!

The Bangsa Moro revolutionary leaders, of what is left of them, have forgotten that one must negotiate out of strength, not out of weakness.

🤣😎🤣👺😜💀

 

 

 

 

Media coverage of Marawi “Siege”

by Jamal Ashley Abbas

A UP Journalism student doing her thesis on the Marawi “Siege” interviewed me on my thoughts about it. (I use quotation marks because I am not sure who the media refers to as those doing the siege and those being besieged.)

Weeks after the personal interview, she emailed me additional questions. These are her emailed questions and my answers:

marawi - from aljazeers-reuters
(From al-Jazeera / Reuters)

UP Journ Student:     What are your thoughts on how media portrayed the events that transpired in Marawi? In your opinion, where do you think media lacked in covering these events? Why?

ME:   The essence of journalism is VERIFICATION. On the very first day of the Crisis, the mass media interviewed the military spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla and other military officers. They all said that there were no ISIS members in Mindanao or in the Philippines. AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año himself assured everyone that Marawi was “under control” and that the Maute group numbered around 50 only. (Note: The CNN link -http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2017/05/24/marawi-crisis-timeline.html – has been updated and the quote from Gen. Año was deleted. Why?? See Changing Marawi Narratives for the quote.)

AFP Spox Padilla- Sitwasyon sa Marawi City, kontrolado ng militar at pulisya (Click to view youtube clip)

Another May 23 news clip from GMA TV News where the milirary again assured everyone that the military was in control of the situation in Marawi.:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsH-DYFT7yE

And just a few hours after the announcements of the generals, Duterte, who was in Russia, suddenly declared that ISIS was in the Philippines and he declared Martial Law all over Mindanao.

A responsible media would have grilled the generals who told all and sundry that there was no ISIS presence in the Philippines. Did the President know better than the generals? And later, when then Cong. Harry Roque was interviewed on TV, he said that just an hour or so before Duterte’s declaration, he was with all the military and intelligence advisers of Duterte and they all said that there was no ISIS in the Philippines and that everything was under control. Roque was also in Russia as part of Duterte’s entourage.

Accdg. to Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, the Elements of Journalism, among others, are:

  • Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth.
  • Its first loyalty is to citizens.
  • Its essence is a discipline of verification.
  • Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.
  • It must serve as an independent monitor of power.
  • It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.
  • It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.
  • Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.

Re: Marawi coverage, all these elements of Journalism were/are missing. Although, I am not sure about the last one.

I saw an interview of George Cariño. He was interviewed on his experience in covering Marawi. He even cried. He said something which intrigued me. He said that they were not allowed to use some words or phrases in their coverage. What was that? Self-censorship? Is that related to last element above?

If what happened to Marawi were to happen in a Christian-populated city? Would the Philippine media do the same thing as they did in Marawi?

 

UP Journ Student:      How does the news coverage of the Marawi siege affect the public’s perception on it? What do you think are the other issues that will be affected because of the media’s news coverage of the Marawi conflict? What do you think are the factors that affect the packaging of news?

ME:     The public’s – esp. The Christian majority’s – knowledge of Marawi came / comes from the media. Their perception of the Rape of Marawi was seen through the spectacles of media. The narratives the public got were all crafted by the government and disseminated through the media.

FRAMING is one BIG factor that affects the packaging of news.

The framing is terribly skewed in favor of the government’s narrative.

CONTEXTUALIZING.  The context is terribly WRONG. From the media’s narrative, the context is as follows:

Marawi and the residents of Marawi are just like any Filipino, with the same shared history. All of a sudden, a group who represents a foreign-based jihadist terrorist group called ISIS, appeared and took hostage a whole city.  The residents fled, Duterte declared Martial Law and massive military forces came in to the rescue, like the cavalry of the old US of A. And the people of  Marawi applauded and were/are ever thankful for the Philippine government and soldiers. (This is so nauseating to most Mranaos…)

The public does not know the REAL CONTEXT. Marawi and Mranaos are not of the ordinary Filipino variety. The Mranaos are part of the Bangsa Moro who have been fighting the Philippine Republic since 1970 – for 48 years!!! And they fought the Americans for more than 20 years and the Spaniards for 350 years.

Given a choice between the Philippine government and a Muslim group, the average Moro would choose the Muslim group.

The reason for the Jabidah Massacre in 1968 was that the young Moros recruited by the Philippine military refused to go to Sabah to fight their fellow Muslims. They chose to side with their fellow Muslims than with the Philippine government.

The Moros are not Filipinos, in many sense of the term.

And what is the CONTEXT of ISIS? And the Caliphate?
(Note: All of a sudden, a group of Al-Qaeda supporters proclaimed themselves to be a worldwide Caliphate in 2014 and called itself, the Islamic State or ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah. The Caliphate is the government of the whole Muslim World or Ummah. The last Caliph was Abdulmecid II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, who was deposed by Kemal Attaturk in 1924. – editor).

ISIS means Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. It doesn’t include Mindanao or Marawi. If it does, it would be ISMIS!!!

ISIS, esp. during the time of the Rape of Marawi, was being bombed out in Iraq and Syria. They couldn’t possibly have any care about Marawi, thousands of miles away. The Mranaos are not even Arabs.

And what is the Caliphate? There has been a Caliphate (Khilafa) movement in the Islamic world since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and with it, the last Caliph.

But not just any idiot can claim to be a Caliph, like not any idiot can claim to be the Pope or the King/Queen of the British Commonwealth (formerly, British Empire).

The Hashemite Kings of Jordan and Morocco would be the first in line to be the new Caliph, not idiots put up by the US CIA. And not any idiot can be declared an Emir or Prince of a province of the Caliphate. (Hapilon of Abu Sayyaf was supposed to be the Emir of Philippines or Southeast Asia, accdg. to the government. Hahahahahaha!!!!!!)

Several years ago, American and European intelligence agencies started rumors about Muslims wanting to establish the Caliphate. But they were demonizing the Caliphate.

I thought then that the Westerners must be soooo dumb. Didn’t they know anything about the Caliphate (khilafa) movement, which has been around since 1918 or thereabouts? Little did I know that they were laying the predicate for ISIS.

 

EQUALIZING. The Media equalizes the strength of 50 or so Maute supporters, mostly kids, with the Armed Forces of the Philippines – with heavy weaponry, dozens of tanks, armored vehicles, airplane bombers and thousands of troops plus drones from the Americans.

SANITIZING.  There were many reports of civilian deaths, but none were focused on by the media. And there was MASSIVE LOOTING but hardly any reports by the media.

 

UP Journ Student:          In your opinion, what issues do you think the media should prioritize and should cover more during their coverage? Why?

ME:               HUMAN RIGHTS is a foremost issue. Right now, there should be focus on REPARATIONS — the Mranaos should be paid for the damage brought to their homes and properties.

MILITARIZATION – It looks like the government is intent on building more military camps in Marawi and thus become an Occupying power.

LAND GRABBING. The government seems intent on stealing Moro lands, again.

The Americans, and later, the Philippine government, delcared ALL MORO LANDS as PUBLIC DOMAIN. And since titling of Lands is not customary among Mranaos, most lands in Lanao are not titled. The government wants to steal them all over again.

And what is the QUID PRO QUO with the MILF and MNLF? The fact that MILF and MNLF supported the government means that they already made a deal with them.  Why is the MEDIA mum on that? Whatever the deal is with both groups must have a great impact on the whole country.

 

UP Journ Student:         What should be the media’s role in the conflict? What are the ways the media can do to live up to its role?

ME:              The Philippine Media personnel, esp. the journalists, should adhere to the Elements of Journalism as espoused by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel. (see ther first answer)

Later, I emailed her one more point. I wrote:
“When ISIS hq abroad claimed that the lone gunman in the Resorts World casino shooting was their member, the media ignored the claim.

Yet the same media immediately believed the president when he declared that ISIS was in Marawi with no evidence and contrary to the assertions of AFP generals who, just a few hours earlier than Duterte’s allegation, assured the public on national media that there were no ISIS in the Philippines.
Double standard???!!!

 

————–       end of Question and Answers       —————–

I would like to add more points.

In Marawi,  a report that about 50 supporters – untrained civilians, mostly kids – of the Maute family, allegedly linked to ISIS, were roaming around Marawi City, was enough for the President to order the immediate evacuation of Marawi City and to declare Martial Law all over Mindanao and then to bring the might of the Armed Forces of the Philippines plus American drones and advisers to bomb the Islamic City of Marawi (or parts thereof) to kingdom come!

During the Cory Aquino administration, a group of highly-trained military troops headed by Col. Honasan, took over the Ayala Avenue area of Makati. The Cory Aquino government did not declare Martial Law or mercilessly bombed the highly urbanized Makati business district.

MARTIAL LAW DECLARATION

The Philippine Constitution states: “In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law.”

In May last year, when Martial Law was declared, there was NEITHER INVASION NOR REBELLION in Mindanao. According to military officers — the AFP Chief of Staff no less and the AFP spokesman — there were only about 50 MAUTE clan members in Marawi and NO ISIS presence in Marawi, Mindanao or the Philippines.

Only idiots and morons and occupying powers (who think Moros are their enemies and need to be subjected to their powers) can justify the declaration of Martial Law in the whole of Mindanao!

The fact that Congress and the Supreme Court believe that there should be Martial Law in Mindanao (forever, if needed) only means that the Christian majority are playing along with the government. While there is Martial Law officially all over Mindanao, everything is business-as-usual in Christian-dominated provinces. Martial Law is just in full effect in Muslim-dominated provinces, esp. Lanao del Sur, incl. Marawi City.

MARAWI EVACUATION DUE TO EXPECTED BOMBING

The primary cause for the evacuation of Marawi was not the people’s fear of the Maute clan. Most Mranao families are well-armed. They are not afraid of just one armed family or clan. But they are afraid of being bombed by government forces.

Just a few months previous to the Rape of Marawi, the government bombed Butig, the stronghold of the Mautes. The residents of Marawi were afraid of government bombs, not Maute guns. In fact, about a few hours before the declaration of Martial Law, one Mranao woman was interviewed via phone by Karen Davila. The woman pleaded to the military, through the news program, not to bomb Marawi. She said that they did not want to suffer the same fate as the people of Butig.

And what forced the residents to flee was the declaration of Martial Law. With Martial Law, the local elected officials would be powerless. The military would reign supreme. And the Mranaos, like most Moros, do not love the Philippine military.

And if a Marawi resident was still not convinced to evacuate, the order by the Office of the Governor/Vice Governor to leave made the reluctant Marawi resident no choice.

The Marawi evacuation was the most important ingredient in the Rape of Marawi. The bombing of Marawi would not cause a lot of deaths. There would be no genocide to complain of. Apparently, the world could not care less about destruction of buildings, houses and mosques and roads and bridges. The massive looting by the soldiers and the unnecessary killings of some civilians on the side could easily be overlooked by the world’s media, who would focus on the government’s meta-narrative.

================================

Jamal Ashley Abbas is a Media Studies specialist, writer and Professorial Lecturer at FEU and FEATI University, teaching Communication and Media Studies.

ASEAN silent on the Rape of Marawi

 

asean see no evil

 

As expected, the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN, as well as world leaders like American President Donald Trump, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang were silent on the just concluded Rape of Marawi as well as the genocide of Rohingyas and the Extrajudicial Killings in Manila and nearby provinces.

marawi 12Marawi City was ravaged by the Philippine government for more than 6 months with heavy aerial bombings and tank and artillery attacks. The city’s buildings, houses, and mosques were totally destroyed. And the houses and buildings were looted. And many civilians were killed.

On May 23, 2017, the government of President Duterte declared Martial Law in Marawi and the whole island of Mindanao. Duterte, with the collusion of the political leaders of Marawi and the governor and vice governor of Lanao del Sur, demanded that the city dwellers leave their city for other places. An exodus was immediately organized.

The reason for the evacuation of the whole city and the declaration of Martial Law was the presence of some 50 armed people of the Maute clan claiming to be ISIS soldiers.marawi

After the evacuation of the city, the military still did not enter Marawi. Instead, they gave the Maute supporters time to deploy themselves all over the city, choosing the choicest spots for snipers. After 3 days or so, the government entered Marawi with hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles and thousands of soldiers. And the bombings started. Every day. For six months.

THE SIEGE
The media, local and foreign, dubbed the Rape of Marawi as the “Marawi Siege”, with the Maute family and supporters doing the siege. The Cambridge dictionary online defines siege as “the surrounding of a place by an armed force in order to defeat those defending it.”

The Philippine Armed Forces surrounded Marawi City and the ones defending their positions inside the city were the Maute family and their supporters. But the media made it appear that the Mautes were the ones doing the siege.

soldier stealing CPUs in Marawi
Soldiers looting houses in Marawi.

GARRISON CITY

And now, with the “war” officially over, the government and the military still control Marawi. Marawi is now a garrison city. The government announced a team composed of Christian Filipino officials to “rehabilitate” Marawi. Reportedly, there are plans to put a large military base in the city.

President Duterte proclaimed the end of the war on Oct. 17, but up to today, most residents of Marawi are still not allowed to return to their homes. Everything is under the control of the military. Residents’ movements are controlled and they all must present IDs.

Martial Law is still in place and it is expected that it will continue to be in place, esp. in Marawi City.

The supposed representatives of the Bangsa Moro, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) are totally quiet. Both groups’ leaders expect themselves to be made rulers of two Moro federal states that will be created by President Duterte. The MILF is predominantly Maguindanaon while MNLF is predominantly TauSug. Marawi City and Lanao del Sur province are inhabited by the Mranaos, a distinct nation of more than a million people with a history and culture quite different from other Moro groups

FILIPINO SOLDIERS NOT HEROES

Contrary to government propaganda, the Filipino soldiers who destroyed and looted Marawi, aside from killing civilians, are not heroes. The Mranaos themselves could have easily fought off the Maute family – without destroying the city. In fact, Mranao top government officials supposedly told President Duterte that the Mranaos can handle the Mautes themselves, but Duterte insisted on letting his military do it.

The Mranaw and Moro political leaders are partly to blame. They somehow lost their balls.

As one Facebook Page admin wrote: “Marawi did not fall before the might of the Spanish Empire. But it fell before the tanks and aerial bombings of the Philippine government (with the help of US drones and military advisers) playing war games with a ragtag “army” of Moro fundamentalists belonging to one clan, while Marawi inhabitants evacuated to nearby places, abandoning their homes and territory and thus losing soooo much more..”

LESSONS LEARNED

Hopefully, the Mranaos and the rest of the Bangsa Moro have learned their lessons. First, never trust the Philippine government. Second, never trust the so-called representatives of the Bangsa Moro to the Peace Talks, the MILF and the MNLF. They are there for their vested interests. Third, a handful of Mranaos, including a lot of children, can take on the full might of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for 6 months. There’s no telling what an organized Mranao army, or even a Bangsa Moro army can do.

The Rape of Marawi is a game changer. The Mranaos have a long memory. This will never be forgotten.

ML in Marawi

 

SEE ALSO :

Changing Marawi Narratives

Marawi Tragedy is a humanitarian concern – Abbas

FROM: RANAO STAR PHILIPPINES

RSP blue mast 123

Sultan Abbas told EU officials: “There must be something wrong” on the Peace Process

MANILA, October 17 — Sultan Firdausi Ismail Yahya Abbas, Sultan of Lanao and Chairman of the Executive Council of the Bangsa Mranaw Congress (BMC) met last October 13, 2017 with officials of the European Union in Brussels, Belgium headed by Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific, after meeting the President of the State Parliament of Landstag in Dusseldorf, Germany and visiting the Bundestag, the upper chamber of the German Parliament the week before.
Sultan Abbas, who is the Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) headed the MNLF delegation.
Sultan Abbas
Sultan Firdausi Abbas of Lanao

He told the EU officials that despite the millions of Euros poured by them and after several years, the peace process is still ongoing and the conflict in Mindanao is still unresolved. “There must be something wrong,” Sultan Abbas told the EU.

He also told them about the tragedy in Marawi and lamented that not a single European Union country expressed sympathy or concern.

The tragedy, Abbas said, is not a political or governmental issue but a human concern – concern for more than 300,000 individuals rendered homeless, 20,000 in shelters in public schools and gymnasiums, 180,000 living outside the shelters without medical checkup, that 2 of every 10 have been diagnosed to have cholera, that so many have been diagnosed to have mental ailments, that 258 children have died, that 58 have died while in the shelter, that so many have been murdered, the homes looted and Marawi City reduced to a pile of ashes by the mortar shells from the howitzers and bombs dropped by the jet planes.

Abbas also condemned the USA, China, and Australia for offering to send troops to Marawi which Abbas called intervention and lambasted these countries “for their shameless adventurism and irresponsible and contemptible actuations which would be a magnet for foreign fighters to fight and create another Beirut in Asia.” When they will begin to send their soldiers home in bags then they will know how Mranaws fight as they fought the Americans before who had to invent the Cal. 45 to stop an attacking Mranaw which did not work, Abbas said.

Director Gunnar thanked Sultan Abbas for his honest, direct and very vivid presentation. That same day the EU officials met and decided to visit Marawi this January though some wanted to go next month and may give financial assistance according to one of the officials.

A renowned brilliant lawyer, a Senior Professorial Lecturer at the Graduate School in U.P. Diliman, being a Ph. D. holder and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi International Honor Society aside from his traditional title and leadership among the MNLF as well as being a Commissioner of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), Sultan Abbas commands tremendous respect from the Bangsa Moro.

The BMC, he said, will assist the EU officials when they come. He said that as Chairman, he will convene the 2nd BMC but the other officers of the BMC shall be determined in the elections which will be held. Presently he is the only active officer. The other officers he said will be elected pursuant to the Constitution and By-Laws which the BMC will pass and approve. Only the participants in the first Congress who will be issued IDs can vote.

Sultan Abbas will proceed to the Hague at the Netherlands which is the venue of the International Criminal Court. (MNY/RSP)

IS A BANGSA MORO STATE WITHIN A FEDERATION THE SOLUTION?

mainphoto(Just before he passed away, Macapanton Rashid Yahya Abbas, Jr, wrote a rambling essay on the Bangsa Moro Conflict and was published in the Ateneo Law Journal  Vol. 48  Sept 2003.  Officially, he was designated as Secretary-General of several Moro groups like the Bangsa Moro Liberation Organization (BMLO), the National Coordinating Council for Islamic Affairs (NACCIA), Islamic Directorate of the Philippines (IDP, which included Misuari and Salamat), etc. He was the President of the Moro Youth National Assembly (MYNA, which included Misuari and Salamat). He was the International Spokesman and Chair for International Affairs of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF-Reformist Group). Unofficially, he was the de facto leader of the MNLF-RG and later, was adviser to the MILF and MNLF  (all factions). For many people, Abbas, Jr. was the “brain of the Bangsa Moro revolution.”)

Below are excerpts of his article “Is Bangsa Moro State Within a Federation the Solution?”:

by PROFESSOR MACAPANTON Y, ABBAS, JR.

(N.B.: He was Full Professor at the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in the mid to late 1970s. Thus, he can legitimately use the title of Professor.)

INTRODUCTION

The topic of “Federalism and the Peace Process” which has been chosen as the topic of discussion by the Ateneo Law Journal for its second issue for Vol. 48 on September 2003 under the theme “Emerging Trends in Philippine Constitutional Law and Constitutional Reforms” is timely in view of the advocacy of the “Federalists” like Rey Teves, Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., Dr. Jose Abueva and a host of leaders who believe that the “Federalization of the Philippine State” is the Constitutional solution that answers many problems of state and governance including the “Peace Process” in Mindanao between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The issue of “Federalism” is not limited to the “Peace Process” because the two are completely separate issues.  The Federal system can be adopted independent of the “Peace Process” in Mindanao. The MILF as well as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) may enter into “comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Mindanao conflict” under an International Agreement or Constitutional Arrangement even if the Federal system is not adopted.  This will be discussed later in this paper.

However, the question may be – Can a Federal State for the Bangsa Moro People be the best option for a peaceful political solution and lead to a lasting peace in Mindanao?  Hence, Federalism is the best way for the peace process to aim for the final status agreement with the Bangsa Moro People.  In this context, it is imperative to understand Islam and the Muslim faithful.  The concept of the Muslim Ummah (Community) in the universal sense as well as national and ethnic perspective which is the basis of the Muslim Law of Nations and relations of Muslim states and nations and peoples on the international level must be studied and appreciated.  The terminologies of Islam, the Muslims, and the Bangsa Moro; the history of the Bangsa Moro People as states; as anti-imperialist and anti-colonial fighters, as movements for national liberation and as citizens of the Philippines which spans a millennium is important to study and evaluated.  These will be discussed and this author shall present the different political options including a federal system for the Philippines.

In June 1980, a two-day conference, “The World of Islam from Morocco to Indonesia”, was held in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the 14th Centennial of Islam.  Over 400 scholars from around the world were brought together to explore Islam and the Modern World.  This author was one of the discussants in the said Conference and it was sponsored by the Asia Society, Department of State and John Hopkins University to celebrate the Fourteenth (14th) Century of ISLAM.

The Conference concluded that at present, the impact of industrial development, technology, urbanization and secular values has had far-reaching consequences.  All over the world, rapid change has disrupted social patterns and cultural traditions which served as reference points for centuries.  Muslims, no less than others, are reacting to the flood of Western individualism, materialism, sexuality, family and politics.  To many, these ideas threaten basic Islamic values.  Furthermore, the outlook of most Muslims is strongly colored by a very recent emergence from a long period of foreign domination.  There is also an awareness of the clearly visible economic disposition between industrialized and developing nations, and within societies, between classes.

Also, concerned Muslims across Asia and Africa are actively exploring many routes to find the balance between modernization and tradition.  This reflects a sense among Muslims that Islamic principles may provide them more appropriate solutions to their national problems than those offered by either capitalism or communism.  Therefore, they call for a re-injection of basic Islamic values into the lives of the individual and society.

The clamor for the revival of these Islamic values is gaining credence even in the Philippines with the adoption of the Madrasah Education Program and the adoption of Muslim personal laws under P.D. 1083.   The very concept of secularism is being modified in Europe and North America to promote the correct understanding of Islam and Muslims especially with world events such as the events in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Chechenya, Bosnia, Kosovo, Khasmir and Mindanao, Philippines…

 

… The beliefs and values of Muslim in Islam are important to understand, if one is to gain a deeper insight in the nature and essence of the Bangsa Moro struggle.  It is imperative to understand the terminology of Islam and Moro languages within the peculiar context of their history…

TERMS AND MEANINGS

Let us define the terms that we are using particularly Moro or Bangsa Moro and Filipino because the “Hermeneutic Interpretation” of the Bangsa Moro issue is as important as the substantial issues regarding the conflict and how to solve it.  The author’s younger brother Engr. Jamal Ashley Y. Abbas, the first citizen of this country to become a Petroleum Engineer and who is now completing his master’s degree in Communications at University of the Philippines wrote in an award winning article:(18)

“But according to philosophical hermeneutics, History is not separated from the present.  We are always simultaneously part of the past, in the present, and anticipating the future.  In other words, the past operates on us now in the present, and affects our conception of what is yet to come.  At the same time, our present notions of reality affect how we view the past.“Moro leaders and intellectuals maintain that if the Philippine government truly wants to solve the so-called Moro Problem, it must exert an honest-to-goodness effort to understand the feelings, sentiments, biases, ideals, prejudices, customs, traditions and historical experience of the Bangsa Moro as enunciated or articulated by the Moros themselves.

* * *

“Hermeneutics must necessarily come into play if one were serious in solving the “communication gap” between the Muslim and Christian Filipino communities.  There must be a real effort in cultural interpretation.

“The Moro problem is even exacerbated by the textual interpretation of both groups to important documents like the Philippine Constitution and the Tripoli Agreement.

“Many people in the government and the academe try to view the Moro Problem within the framework of social constructionist communication theories or Marxist critical theories.  Some Moro intellectuals believe that postcolonial discourse theories cannot be used because the Moros are still under colonial rule; i.e., Filipino colonial rule.  It is absolutely useless to blame the Americans or multinationals or globalization for the plight of the Moros, as what the leftists are won’t to do.  If there’s anyone to blame, it is the colonial power, i.e. the Filipino government.

“The MNLF, MILF, BMLO and other Moro groups have petitioned the United Nations to resolve that the Bangsa Moro nation be de-colonized.  Today’s Filipino historians, writers, or intellectual do not mention the fact that the great Filipino nationalist himself, Claro M. Recto, authored the bill called “Colonization of Mindanao Act.”

“Hermeneutics phenomenology or philosophical hermeneutics could be the framework needed to help solve this socio-political problem.  Using critical theories, which focus on ideology and power, might simply aggravate the problem.  As Paul Ricoeur wrote:

 “what is at stake can be expressed in terms of an alternative: either a hermeneutical or a critical consciousness… In contrast with the positive assessment of hermeneutics, the theory of ideology adopts a suspicious approach, seeing tradition as merely the systematically distorted expression of communication under unacknowledged conditions of violence.”

It is important that we should have the proper understanding of the recognition given by Philippine Law and Jurisprudence, as well as, by the Philippine government in its agreements with the MNLF and the MILF and the Resolutions of the Organization of the Islamic Conference that the Indigenous Muslim Communities of Mindanao, Basilan, Tawi-tawi and Palawan are to be known as the “Bangsa Moro People” and that their culture, religion, history and civilization are distinct from the Filipinos who were colonized and christianized by Spain and later by America.  Such distinct ethnic nationality does not make them separate or enemies of the Filipinos or the Philippine state but “equal historic communities” that must co-exist and work together to strengthen a common state or even separate states within a federal or confederal system of government.  In the United Kingdom, the Scots, the Welsh or the Irish of North Ireland are not called British or English but they remain a strong state as a United Kingdom and was once an empire.  The Corsicans of France as well as the Britons are not called French or the Basques of  Spain are not called Spaniards or the Wallons and Flemings of Belgium are two separate peoples in one state or the Montenegrens and the Serbs in the Federation of the former Yugoslavia or the Chechens or the Cossacks or Dagastanis and many nationalities in the Russian Federation or the Tibetans or Uighurs of China are not called Chinese or Han for they are separate nations or the Ainos of Japan and so many other cases in the world were you have many nationalities in a single Federal or Con-Federal state like the United States of America.

When the Bangsa Moro asserts its historic right as a national ethnic community, it is not being separatist or secessionist but rather asserting a historical truth that must be acknowledged otherwise there will be no solution to the conflict in Mindanao.  In this connection Father Eliseo Mercado, PhD and former President of Notre Dame University of Cotabato City, in an interview in the United States last May 2, 2003 with the EIR, were he is presently undergoing scholarship at the Georgetown University stated categorically that:

“I believe the Philippine government and for that matter, the Filipino nation, must open up to the reality that we are not a mono-nation-state and that we are poly-ethnic groups and we are a poly-nation-state.  It is possible to have many ethnic groups, and many nations, and still form one country, one republic that is the first thing.  The second thing is to see the root causes of insurgency and rebellions over the problem of separatism.” (19)

The Bangsa Moro Question can have a genuine, just and comprehensive political solution if its distinct historical claim as states before U.S. illegally annexed them into the Philippines by virtue of the Treaty of Paris of 1898, as the basis of the solution.

THE MUSLIM LAW OF NATIONS

In order to reconstruct the Islamic theory of international relations, we should bear in mind that Islam offers a social system based on divine revelations and immutable and inalienable rights as part of a political community endowed with a system of laws designed to protect the collective interest of Muslims as well as to regulate their relations with the outside world.  The basic principle of Islamic governance in external relations with other nations is that only the Muslim Nation is the subject of the Islamic legal system, while all other systems are the object of these systems, although the non-Muslim nations are not denied certain advantages of the Muslim Law of nations.  The ultimate goal of Muslim Law of Nations was to establish peace within the territory brought under the pale of its public order and, theoretically, to include the whole world in obedience to Allah’s commandment to govern in accordance with Islam.

“Before Islam could achieve that ultimate objective, it had to enter into relations with communities that had not yet submitted to its control in accordance with a set of rules and practices.  Conformity to Islam’s legal and ethical standards was required not only of the believers whose territory had not yet expanded beyond the frontiers of the state but also of believers who owed their legal – though not necessarily their political – allegiance to Islam. An illustration of this principle can be found in Muslim minorities in China, Russia, Yugoslavia, Thailand, Philippines, etc.

“However, the non-Muslims who resided within the Islamic community, although they were regarded as the subjects or citizens of the state (though not members of the religious community), were not bound by all the Islamic, ethical; and legal rules.  Islamic authority however, had to deal with the problems arising from their inter-relationships with Muslims.“In the ancient near East, Greece and Rome, Islamdom and Western Christendom, a distinct civilization flourished in each of these “worlds”.  Within each civilization a body of rules and practices developed for the purposes of regulating the conduct of each entity with the others in peace and war.

“Former systems of the law of nations, in contrast to the modern International Law of nations, were not universal in character since each system was primarily concerned with regulating the relations of entities and nations within a limited area and within one (though often more than one) civilization.  Furthermore, each past system of the law of nations, in contrast to the modern law, was entirely exclusive, since it did not recognize the principle of legal equality of nations which is the basis of the modern law of nations. (20)

Prof. Masjid Khadduri clearly expressed this legal theory that, the Muslim Law of Nations was based on the theory of a universal state.  The binding force of the said law was not based on consent of reciprocity, but on their own interpretation of their political, moral and religious interests, as they regarded their principles of morality and religion derived mainly from the commandments of ALLAH.  With the entry of the Muslim states in the United Nations (UN), it is a safe assumption that this principle has been relaxed and the legal equality of all nations is gaining acceptance in the Islamic world.

“The Muslim law was ordinarily binding upon individuals rather than territorial groups.  It was only in modern times, especially under the material and cultural pressure of modern civilizations that the observance of law has been attached to people in relation to the territory they live in, rather than in relations to the group they belong to.“The Muslim law of nations is not a separate body of Muslim laws; it is merely an extension of the laws designed to govern the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims, whether inside or outside the world of Islam.  Strictly speaking, there is no Muslim Municipal (National) Law and International Law based on different sources and maintained by different sanctions because the Shari’ah makes no distinction.” (21)

AL-SIJAR (LAW OF NATIONS)

The early Muslim jurist either dealt with the conduct of foreign relations in the general law corpora under such headings as “Jihad”, “Spoils of War” and the “Aman” or “Al-Kharaj”.  Later on, all of these were discussed under a technical term “Al-Sijar”.

“In practice the Muslim Law of Nations (Al-Sijar) is taken to mean the sum total of the rules and practices of Islam’s intercourse with other peoples.  The sources are the treaties, utterances and instructions of the Caliph to the commanders in the field, opinions and interpretations of publicist and jurists.  Analyzed in terms of the modern law of nations, the sources are of the same categories defined by modern jurists and the statutes of the International Court of Justice, namely, agreement, custom, reason and authority.” (22)

In Islamic legal theory, the world was therefore divided in two divisions: Dar Assalam (The Abode of Peace) comprising of Islamic and non-Islamic territories held under Islamic sovereignty, and the rest of the world, called Dar Al-Harb or the Territory of War.  The first included the community of believers as well as those who entered into an alliance with Islam.  The inhabitants of those territories were either Muslims, who formed the community of believers, or non-Muslims, those who belonged to tolerated religions who paid the Protection Tax (Jiizah) to Muslim authority.

The world surrounding the Islamic political community was known as Dar Al-Harb, because it remained beyond the pale of Dar Al-Islam.  It lacked the legal competence to enter into intercourse with Islam on the basis of equality and reciprocity.  Such territory may be regarded as “state of nature”, because it ruled to conform to Islamic legal and ethical standards.  Some Muslim publicists, especially Shaffi Jurists, devised a third temporary division of the world, called Dar Al-Sulh (Territory of Peaceful Arrangement) or Dar Al-Ahd (Territory of Covenant), giving qualified recognition to non-Islamic communities if they entered into treaty relations with Islam, on conditions agreed upon between the two parties.  The Hanafi Jurists, however, never recognized the existence of a third division of the world, arguing that the inhabitants of a territory concluded a peace treaty and paid a tribute, it became part of Dar Al-Islam and its people were entitled to the protection of Islam, because otherwise it would be part of the Dar al-Harb and object of Islam. (23)

DEFINITION OF JIHAD

The word JIHAD is derived from JAHD or JUDH meaning “ability and exertion”.  Jihad means the exertions of one’s power in repelling evil.  Jihad also means the using or exertion of one’s utmost power, efforts, endeavors or ability in contending with an object of disapprobation and this is of three kinds: the visible enemy, evil and one’s self.  Jihad is therefore far from synonymous from war.  However, Jihad is also mistakenly used to mean holy war or defensive war by western or even westernized Muslims as the only bellum justum in Islam.  This was shown as a misconception by Abdullah Yusuf Ali:

Those who believe, and suffer exile and strive (Jihad) with might and main, in God’s cause with their goods and their persons, have the highest rank, in the sight of God.

They are the people who will achieve salvation.” (9:20) (24)

Sir Abdullah Yusuf Ali in his commentary observed:

“Here is a good description of Jihad.  It may require fighting in God’s cause, as a form of self sacrifice.  But its essence consists in (1) true and sincere faith, which so fixes its gaze on God, that all selfish or worldly motives seem paltry and fade away, and (2) an earnest and ceaseless activity, involving the sacrifice (if need be) of life, person or property, in the service of God.  Mere brutal fighting is opposed to the whole spirit of Jihad, while the sincere scholar’s pen or preacher’s voice or wealthy man’s contributions may be the most valuable forms of Jihad.” (25)Fight (Jihad) in the cause of God
Those who Fight (Jihad) you
But do not transgress limits
For God loveth not transgressors
And slay them wherever ye catch them
From where they have turned you out;
For tumult and oppression
Are worse than slaughter
And fight them on
Until there is no more tumult or oppression
And there prevail Justice and Faith in God;
But if they cease, Let there be no hostility
Except to those who practice oppression. (11:190-193) (26)

Sir Yusuf Ali again commented on this verse that:

“War is only permissible in self-defense, under well-defined limits.  When undertaken, it must be pushed with vigor, but not relentlessly, but only to restore peace and freedom for the worship of God.  In any case strict limits must not be transgressed; women, children, old and infirm men should not be molested, no trees and crops cut down, nor place withheld when the enemy comes to terms”. (27)

He explained the universal practice of Muslims and their governments on the matter of war and peace.

“In general, it may be said that Islam is the religion of peace, goodwill, mutual understanding and good faith. But it will not acquiesce in wrong doing of its men will hold their lives cheap in defense of honor, justice and religion which they hold sacred.  Their ideal is that of heroic virtue combined with unselfish gentleness and tenderness, such as is exemplified by the life of the Prophet.  They believe in courage, obedience, discipline, duty and a consonant striving by all means in their power, physical, moral, intellectual, spiritual, for the establishment of truth and righteousness.“They know that war is an evil, but they will not flourish from it if their honor demands it and a righteous Imam command it, for then they know they are not serving carnal end.  In other cases, war has nothing to do with their faith, except that it will always be regulated by its humane precepts.” (28)

The verses of the Holy Quran on Jihad aside from the two cited above which numbers more than thirty (30) verses never used the word “Harb” or war but only “fighting.”

In my paper, I observed, that the whole breadth of Islamic history will prove that Jihad was never used as an instrument of conversion for truly, mankind has never witnessed religious tolerance as displayed by Islamic rulers.

The Holy Quran enjoins religious tolerance when, it commanded “There is no compulsion in religion, truth stands manifest from error.”

Historians and writers like J.M. Haydman, Joseph Schart, Nathaniel Shcmidt, Lamartine, Lipson, Dozy, Renan, Sir Allan Burns to name a few, credits Islam and its reign with the flourishing of intellectual and religious freedom for all.  No less than Arnold Tynbee, the greatest historian of our times said:

“Today the modern world stands in need of Islamic tolerance and universal brotherhood and the Muslim world has to play its role in the shaping of a harmonious and peaceful and happy destiny for the war-weary, tension tossed and ideology-torn world.” (29)

MODERN DOCTRINE OF JIHAD

The first and most revolutionary change was the adoption of peaceful relationships among nations of different religions, modifying the classical principle of Jihad or a permanent state of war between Islamic and non-Islamic nations.  Muslims rulers started making treaties establishing peace with non-Muslim states extending beyond the ten year period provided under the sacred law.

The most notable instrument that formalized the peaceful relationship between Islam and non-Muslim states was the Treaty of 1535.  It not only laid down the principle of peace and mutual respect between Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent and the King of France but also offered it to other Christian princes who were willing to adhere to the treaty (Articles 1 and 15). (30)

The second fundamental change was the acceptance of the principle of the separation of religious doctrine from the conduct of external relations.  In Islam there was a separation of doctrinal differences from the conduct of external relations and to regulate external relations on a secular basis. This was later adopted in Christendom thereby giving rise to the principle of cuious regio, eius religo, first adopted at the Peace of Augsburg in 1555, which became the basis of the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 and which governed the relationship of the Christian states in Europe and later among the different faiths of the world. (31)

The third principle was the adoption by Islam of the principles of territorial sovereignty and territorial law necessitated by territorial segregation.  When the universal monocracy of Islam suffered a split in its body politic under changing conditions of modern life, the constituent entities emerged as fully sovereign and each sovereign tended to divert the mode of loyalty of men from universal to territorial concepts.  As a result, territorial segregation constituted an underlying factor for the gradual transformation of the nature of sovereignty from universal to territorial as well of the law from personal to territorial. (32)

JIHAD AND MODERN CONCEPT OF WAR

In my thesis for the Bachelor of Laws Degree at the College of Law of the University of the Philippines in 1967 I stated that:

“Neither the League of Nations charter nor the Kellog-Briand Pact which renounced war as instrument of national policy or a defensive war substantially altered the classic doctrine of war that the states had an inherent right to go to war.“The charter of the United Nations has introduced a new doctrine on the use of force.  The preamble proclaim “that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest.”  And one of its purposes is “To maintain international peace and security, and to that end, take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of peace” – Article I (1).  These statements imply the abolition of war in a legal sense.  The only entity possessed of a legitimate power to use force is the Security Council which is authorized under the charter to “take such action by air, sea or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore peace and security.  Art. 42.

“The inherent right of individual or collective self-defense in case of an armed attack is preserved in the charter.  However, the exercise of the right of self-defense is merely in preliminary measure pending the exercise by the security council of its authority and responsibility to maintain or restore international peace and security. Article 51.” (33)

“The Muslim States having entered membership in the UN are bound legally by the charter.  From the point of view of Islam, there is no substantial conflict with the Islamic doctrine of Jihad because the purpose of Jihad is the establishment of peace and if peace is established by the UN then the purpose of Jihad is served.  Secondly, if aggression is committed on the Muslim state or states then the UN must enforce collective action or the Muslim states may declare Jihad on the aggressor.  Thirdly, the requisites for justum bellum under Islamic doctrines are satisfied by its Charter.

“Another modern illustration of Jihad was in 1947 when the UN created the state of Israel and partitioned Palestine.  The Mufti of Palestine declared Jihad and the Arab states supported Palestine in the Palestine War.  The intervention of the UN resulted in a truce and the rights of the Palestinians are still to be settled in the UN.  There is shooting war as of the moment and there is a state of war between the Arab states and Israel and tensions results in a continuing cycle of violence.  As of the moment no Muslim state has extended recognition to Israel except Egypt.

“Again, the India-Pakistan war resulted to the declaration of Jihad by Pakistan against India.  During the war between these two states, the Muslim states either financially, morally or actively supported Pakistan in her war efforts against India.

“The secularization of Muslim states have led to the secularization of Jihad and the acceptance of the UN concept of war as justum bellum under “modern” Islamic legal and ethical standards.  Muslim States submit disputes with other states to the UN for arbitration and mediation in accordance with its Charter for peace being the ultimate objective, Muslim states are bound to honor the covenant.  The invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq by US aided by the UK without Security Council approval is changing international law which effectively prohibits war under the UN charter except as a collective measure with the approval of the Security Council.  The US military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan will change international law on war.

However, the modern concept of total war which disregards distinctions between civilians and combatants and rendered the Hague Convention of 1907 irrelevant, is still not acceptable to Islamic legal theory.  This modern theory of war saw its application in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Under Islamic legal theory, the conduct of war is based on that noble principle forbidding the extension of warfare to harming non-combatants.  The rules decree against the killing of the aged, the young women, the handicapped, those who have withdrawn from life to worship and meditate, and those who have refrained from participating in battle.  The mass of workers, farmers, and tradesman-in other words, the civilians.  It is not lawful to kill civilians.  There should be cessation of hostilities should those whose death is not permitted be exposed to death between the ranks of the fighting forces.  However, this limitation on war action has been violated repeatedly by US and UK and justified under the pretext of collateral damage.  The use of massive bombings beyond enemy lines using guided missiles and bombs as the basic US strategy to maximize damage to enemy forces, utilities, transport facilities, radar and satellite systems, with the minimum loss of lives has changed the rules o warfare and caused more injuries and death civilian populations than the soldiers as seen in the Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.” (34)

THE OIC

The establishment of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in 1971 operationalized the unification of the Muslim World initially constituting the Muslim States but with declared intention to support the Muslim Communities or Minorities who constitute over 400 million of the 1.2 billion Muslim World populations.  Some of these Muslim Minority Communities are ancient nations and Kingdoms like those in the U.S.S.R., China, Eritrea, Thailand, Cyprus and the Philippines and their respective populations and territory are much bigger than many Muslim states.

In 1972, this author attended the 2nd OIC Foreign Ministers Conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, submitted the petition of the Bangsa Moro against the genocide by the Marcos regime. He also had long discussions with H.E. Tenghu Abdulrahman Putra, First Secretary General of the OIC and the late Libyan Foreign Minister Saleh Bouyaser, one of the drafters of the OIC charter.

In these talks, the said leaders revealed that the late King Faisal Bin Abdulazziz of Saudi Arabia worked for the establishment of the OIC to promote the unity of the Muslims to act as a world force and the Islamization of the Muslim States in order to safeguard the purity of Islam and its institutions and to encourage Muslim societies to modernize within the framework of Islam.  The struggle of Islam against Zionism, Fascism, Colonialism and Anti-Islamic ideologies can only be won through the unity of the Ummah based on Islam.  Further, the Muslim States collectively can protect and support the rights of Muslim Minorities. This has been consistently confirmed by the Islamic Summit of Heads of States.  However, it has been short on implementation because of disunity among Muslim States caused by superpowers domination of some Muslim States.

It established the Islamic Solidarity Fund, the Islamic Development Bank, Red Crescent, the Islamic New Agency, and the Institute for Technical Cooperation, the Federation of Muslim Chambers of Commerce and Industries, etc.  It has also formulated a common stand in world issues before the United Nations, the non-aligned movement, the Organization of African Unity, ASEAN and the Arab League.  The Muslim States have emerged as one of the most powerful bloc in the UN and the world as shown by their unity on the oil embargo of 1973; the support for PLO and Palestine; the support for the Afghan Mujahiddin; the boycott on South Africa; North South Dialogue, the New World Economic Order and other major issues.

The OIC has also declared strong support for the Muslims in Eritrea, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and particularly the Bangsa Moro in the Philippines.  They have given humanitarian assistance to all Muslim Communities and made representation to USSR, Europe, U.S.A., Canada, China on the rights of Muslim minorities.  Its position is that, “violation of the rights of Muslims anywhere in the world is a legitimate concern of the Muslim States”, representing the collective will of the Muslim World through the OIC.

In the Iran-Iraq war, the OIC heads of states and governments created a committee of head of states to mediate between the parties and they continued these efforts in all forms up to the UN Security Council until finally, the cessation of hostilities was achieved.

In the present crisis in the Gulf States when Iraq invaded Kuwait and annexed it, the OIC condemned Iraq’s action and conforms to UN Security Council resolutions.  However, it did not support US actions in sending forces to Saudi Arabia.  It supported an Arab multi-national force and mediation by Muslim States between Iraq and Kuwait – Saudi-Arabia.  The OIC also did not support the war against Afghanistan and Iraq. The acts of US are beyond the Security Council’s resolutions.

The OIC became marginalized in the US led invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the war in Palestine. The Acts of US are beyond the RP-US Security Council Resolutions. This situation led to militancy and birth of the Muslim Jihadist movements in the Muslim world as a reaction to the failure of OIC and Muslim states to be defenders of the Ummah and the Muslims.

Dr. Julkipli Wadi in a paper on the Islamic Ummah in the 21st Century commented on the new emergence of US as the sole Superpower on the Muslim Concept of the Law of Nations as well as the Doctrine of Jihad.

“The politicization and subsequent trans-nationalization of Islam is a product of long-standing rivalry between Arab nationalism and pan-Islamic source of political system and framework of development in the Arab world provided opportunity for pan-Islamic groups to claim support and legitimacy from marginal sectors of Muslim society.  It is reinforced by the failure of Arab nationalism to get rid neocolonial vestiges in the Middle East and other parts of the Islamic world.  The sway of Islamic movements is brought about with the eclipse of reform movements in Muslim dominated areas and secessionist groups in non-Muslim dominated areas.  Since the Afghan war in the 80’s these two strands of struggles had forged strong linkages with each other.  It thus appears that the neo-Islamic struggle is global making their target not only their immediate enemies, e.g., Arab/Muslim and Christian dominated governments, but the very source of global hegemony (e.g. America) and all the symbolism it represents (e.g. capitalism, power).  Taking cue from the fact that it is useless to engage in petty acts of violence in their respective locales, they thus catapulted their struggle by making a big signature in the heartland of American power as shown on September 11.  What they simply needed was their will.  Their capability came second.  And, ironically, it was the knowledge and technology of the United States that they used to destroy the symbol of economic and political power of the United States.  If there was a lesson learned by Islamic movements is that, if you want to be heard, you’ve got to elbow a major power.  Yet, one has to be ready of being branded as a terrorist, fundamentalist, and all those sort of labels even by their fellow Muslim brothers unfortunately.  And finally one has to contend the wrath of the Superpower and the international coalition against terror.Implication

The rule of the game of international politics has indeed changed.  The event last September 11 shows the fragility of the world today.  If a big power like the United States can become a subject of intimidation by what it considers as an “enemy that hides in the shadow” what more Third world countries including the Muslim world?  Surely, the Muslim world, its dynamics and politics will be the subject of international controversy in the years ahead.  The sense of historicity by a wide array of many Muslim struggles is now supplanted by over rhetoric on terrorism.  The line thus between legitimate political struggle and terrorism has turned blurred. (35)

 

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CONTINUE  TO  WAR IN MOROLAND (CLICK)
18 Abbas, Datu Jamal Ashely   Hermeneutic Interpretation for the Bangsa Moro Issue
Bangsa Moro Review Internet Magazine, December 2002

19 Mercado, Eliseo, Interview by Economic Intelligence Review, MindaNews Website, May 4, 2003

20 Abbas, Macapanton, Jr. International Relations in Islam, Institute of Islamic Studies, UP, Diliman, Roundtable Discussions on Islamic Studies, UP, August 19, 1990

21  Khadduri, Masjid, War and Peace in Law of Islam, 1962
22  Ibid. Khadduri
23   Ibid. Khaduri

24  The Holy Qur’an, Chap.9 verse 20
25  Ali, Abdulah Yusuf  Translation and Commentary of the Holy Qu’ran, Parachi Press,
Pakistan, 1949
26 Op-cit. Chapter 11, Verse 190-193
27 Op-cit. Comments of Yusuf Ali English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran,

28  Op-cit. Yusuf Ali
29  Op cit  Abbas, Macapanton Jr.
30  Proctor, Harris, Islam and International Relations, London: Pall Mall Press, 1965
31  Ibid. Proctor
32  Ibud.. Proctor
33  Abad Santos, Cases in International Law, 1966
34  Abbas, Macapanton, Jr., “Jihad and International Law”; Thesis, College of Law, University of
the Philippines, 1967
35 Wad, Julkipli  A paper presented during the Muslim Youth congress sponsored by the
National Youth Commission at the Executive Plaza Hotel, Malate, Manila, 27 October 2001

door_rt

 

Zamboanga moro-moro ends

FROM: THE SETTING SUN

Zamboanga Zarzuela Ends

The Zamboanga zarzuela or moro-moro (Philippine traditional stage plays) finally ends its 10-day run in Philippine media. Well, it’s not yet really finished, but what is left is just the epilogue.

On Sept. 9, 2013, the media reported that some 200 or 300 MNLF men loyal to Misuari attacked some villages in Zamboanga city and were holding hostage the residents there.

Really, why in the world would 200 or 300 MNLF rebels attack Muslim villages? With 200 or 300 men, they could easily attack the City Hall or the police or even the military garrisons.  Only the ignorant and the gullible would believe such a scenario. As the MNLF spokesman said, “If we attack a village, we pulverize them.”

Misuari’s spokesman Atty Fontanilla and the MNLF Facebook page insisted that they had nothing to do with whatever was going on in Zamboanga. As the MNLF stated, they were busy preparing for the Review of the Philippine-MNLF Final Peace Agreement scheduled on Sept. 16 in Jogjakarta, Indonesia.

Although the alleged MNLF rebels were supposedly holed up only in 3 villages, Zamboanga City was in stand still. All flights were cancelled, schools and offices were suspended, and a curfew was installed. For what?

The MNLF Facebook page posted this on Sept 9:

UPDATE: I made a few calls to inquire what is going on in Zamboanga City. The MNLF has to implement an effective civil defense plan to secure their lives and secure a high-level MNLF leader.

CAUSE: People sighted a GPH Police/Military large troop movement (LTM) that is tactical in nature (full battle gear). We have no information on why the GPH Police/Military launched a tactical LTM. I think the military should explain. If the GPH movement was a non-tactical movement, the 1995 MNLF-GPH Ceasefire Ground Rules Section 4 (on Movements) says “Non-tactical movements of GRP and MNLF forces outside their identified places shall be coordinated by concerned/affected GRP and MNLF commander(s).”

EFFECT: The military movement caused the MNLF to organize into an armed defensive formation (ADF) into a strategic convergence zone. During ADF, the public would see MNLF (from all point of origin) in groups of a squad or a platoon to move towards the direction of the ADF convergence zone.

NOTES: Media published it as an “ATTACK”. The truth is, there was no “ATTACK” because there are no shootings yet. The media should be careful next time, they could have just said that “there are sightings of large troops movement”.

 HOSTAGES: If you mean like a hold-up hostage situation that you see in movies, there is none. Everyone in Zamboanga City now is a hostage inside their houses or cars as a result of their own fear, especially those inside the convergence zone.OTHER GROUPS: Normally, when there is a “SCARE” as a result of irresponsible media, the people (MNLF, MILF, Fake MNLF, Fake MILF, Political Private Armies, Individual Gun Owners, etc etc) will naturally arm themselves in full battle gear. This is what you will see in Zamboanga now.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Zamboanga is in an armed-conflict vulnerable status right now.

 PROPOSED SOLUTION: To defuse the tension, make the GPH Police/Military explain the LTM they initiated and publish it on the news. Then allow sufficient TIME for the people to overcome their fears and they will gradually go back to their homes.

All throughout the so-called standoff and up to now, Misuari and his MNLF maintain that they have nothing to do with the Zamboanga affair.  And they insist on impartial investigation by international parties.

A few days later, MNLF Commander Jabir (Habier) Malik was said to be the leader of the MNLF rebels holed out in the villages. And the next day, he was reported to have been killed. A day later, he was interviewed via phone patch by an online news group.

On Thursday, Sept. 12, Rappler.com reported that 80 MNLF rebels, with 35 hostages, surrendered to the police in Barangay Sta. Barbara. But Mar Roxas, the Secretary of the Dept. of Interior and Local Governments, and head of the government task force in Zamboanga handling the alleged MNLF attack, denied that there any surrender. Rappler, however, stood by its story.

Around the 5th or 6th day of the Zamboanga play, President B.S. Aquino arrived in Zamboanga, declaring that “MNLF’s happy days are over.”

But the play dragged on. Thousands of troops were sent to Zamboanga. More tanks and ammunition arrived for the soldiers. Media hype continued.

But the biggest attraction in the land still remained the PDAF or Pork Barrel scam. The people’s attention refused to let go the pork barrel scam which involved senators, congressmen and government officials.

And then we saw this on TV:

Looks like the game was up! From the TV news clip, it was very clear that it was all staged. There were no MNLF men in the area.

On Sept 11, the MNLF Facebook page posted this:

GENERAL ORDER FOR THE MNLF: Stay at home or somewhere safe, maintain a low profile, and avoid any trouble. But be ready to protect your life and your family if your household is harassed. The genuine MNLF is not involved in that chaos in Zamboanga and nearby towns. Don’t get swayed by the bandwagon of media. If your senior officers in the unit would ask you to prepare for a combat mission, please report the name to me 0921-7172040 so I can warn you if that person is in the list of the over 200 Fake MNLFs that we intercepted. Allahuakbar!…The following are the major Counterfeit MNLF operators in Zamboanga and Basilan area. Please do not obey any kind of instructions (especially combat recruitment instructions) from these persons.George Sampang    Abdulsalim Laki Wahi   Bulleng Montong    Kiram Abdullah   Ocacc Mohammad Hj. Sahipa Walsa
Manalbang Tahil   Tuan Samili  Usman Powa   Degte Ibrahim    Akramin Menembanl   Nurmina Mahamud
Afdar Salik   Hj. Abbas Tangkian    Min Alam     Hb. Andang Hashim    Lacson Sawadjaan   Abdullajid HB. Hussein
Hj. Abdua Jakaria   Hatimil Hassan   Jan Jakilan   Mitsuara Hassan   Ustadz Abdulmuhmin Mujamid   Likhab Salahuddin
Aramel Amirin   Datu Bungsu Mursalun    Ustadz Hassan Jaiiani

According to the Media, military intelligence report has it that Misuari is ill.  Maybe because of his illness, the military and government took advantage and created this hullabaloo.Perhaps the producers/directors of the play sensed that it was time to wrap up, the military let loose its ammunition and bombed the villages, including the one where Dr. Marietta Galvez said in the video that there were no MNLF men there.After bombing the place, all Muslim residents there were tagged as MNLF, which was exactly what the MNLF was saying all along.

roxas

The MNLF FB page’s latest status update was posted yesterday:

MNLF GENERAL ORDER: ABORT THE EXTRACT OPERATION. ALL TROOPS WITHDRAW. THE STANDOFF DISAPPEARED LIKE BUBBLE DESPITE PRESIDENTIAL CORDON. MALIK PRESENCE IN ZAMBOANGA UNCONFIRMED. MALIK INTEGRITY INTACT IN MNLF. ALL HIGH-PROFILE MNLF ACCOUNTED SAFE. SURRENDEREEs ARE COUNTERFEIT MNLFs REWARDED WITH GPH LIVELIHOOD PROJECTS. PRESIDENT PORK BARREL PAMANA PROJECT USED AS REWARD FOR COUNTERFEIT MNLF TO DO VIOLENCE TO DESTROY REPUTATION OF MNLF. ZAMBOANGA CHAOS HAVE NO MNLF FOOTPRINT. 1996 FPA HOLDS IN EFFECT.

To add another twist to the moro-moro, on Sept 17, it was announced that the Zamboanga Police chief was kidnapped by the MNLF rebels. A day later, the police chief surfaced with 23 alleged MNLF rebels in tow. He said he and three of his men pursued a lead on a reported group of rebels. They then bumped into these 23 rebels. And lo and behold, he persuaded them to surrender because these alleged rebels needed the police’s help to go back to their hometown, neighboring island of Basilan.

Hmmm. Looks like the scriptwriters were running out of credible scenarios. Here’s a link to the video of the interview with the Police Chief:

And now for the pièce de resistance, the President announce a P 6.1 B fund for the rehabilitation of Zamboanga. I guess that’s the payback for all the producers, scriptwriters and actors of the Zamboanga zarzuela.

And so what does this all mean? For one thing, it means that the Philippine government is not sincere in the Peace Talks. For another, it means the government is now ready to treat Misuari as insignificant and throw away the government’s “Final Peace Agreement” with the MNLF.

But most importantly, this means that the Bangsa Moro people are left with NO PROTECTORS. The MILF apparently doesn’t care what happens to the Moros as long as the group gets its Bangsamoro substate. The MNLF, on the other hand, is divided into the Misuari faction, which is now shown to be impotent and others which are either in cahoots with the government or are afraid of the government.

I guess it’s about time for a new Bangsa Moro revolutionary movement.

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A look at the happy faces of the actors after curtain fall:

zambo

TV CHAR GEN: 15 MNLF MEMBERS FROM BASILAN SURRENDER TO THE AUTHORITIES

zambo 2

Opinion: What Is Najib’s Quid For PeNoy’s Quo (Dropping Sabah Claim)?

FROM: the SETTING SUN

What Is PeNoy’s Quid For Najib’s Quo?

BY Datu Jamal Ashley Abbas

President B.S. Aquino and PM Najib Razak
President B.S. Aquino and PM Najib Razak

When Filipinos commit murder in foreign countries, the Philippine government go on bended knees asking foreign countries to spare the lives of these Filipinos.

When the Sultan’s relatives went to Sabah, which was the home of the Tausugs for centuries, they were immediately threatened and humiliated by the Philippine President. (The Sultan’s and Rajah Muda’s father lived for some time in Sabah)

PRESIDENT AQUINO’S ACTIONS

The sheer arrogance of the President, his utter disrespect to the Sulu royalty (and by extension to the Bangsa Moro people), his belittling of the Sabah claim and his humiliating subservience to the Malaysian Prime Minister are so mind-numbing.

I cannot understand how any self-respecting Moro could stomach the sheer arrogance of PeNoy and his people towards the Sultan, his people (and by extension the Bangsa Moro) and the claim to Sabah.

As to the government’s claim to Sabah, it is as clear as day that the President practically gave it up. First, he called it “a hopeless cause”. Second, he acknowledged Malaysia’s ownership of Sabah which is AGAINST THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION (ARTICLE I, NATIONAL TERRITORY: The national territory comprises the Philippine archipelago, with all the islands and waters embraced therein, AND ALL OTHER TERRITORIES OVER WHICH THE PHILIPPINE HAS SOVEREIGNTY OR JURISDICTION consisting ….); AGAINST PHILIPPINE LAWS like RA 5446 and AGAINST GOVT PROTOCOL (Memorandum Circular No. 162, s. 2008).

Why is this unheard of subservience to the Malaysians? Their part in the Framework Agreement is not enough justification. Is the Philippine government supposed to be ever grateful to the Malaysians because of their mediation in the Peace Talks between the Government and the MILF?

But why? People naturally infer that the Malaysians favor the MILF, their fellow Muslims. So the Lahad Datu crisis should have given the Philippine government the chance to exercise leverage over Malaysia and thus weaken the the ties between MILF and Malaysia.

MALAYSIAN ACTIONS

The even more arrogant actions and statements of the Malaysians, even when referring to the Philippine government is so mind-boggling as it has no precedence in the history of Malaysian-Philippine relations.

While I love Malaysia – the country and its people, I, like many right-thinking Filipinos, am shocked at the actions and statements of the Malaysian government. I believe they would not do that without the imprimatur of the Philippine government.

MAKES US WONDER

But the actions of the Philippine President now make many people wonder. Has the Philippine government agreed to drop the Sabah claim in exchange for a peace agreement with the MILF ?

But why would the Philippine government do that? A peace deal with the Moros is never to the interests of the government, at least to the minds of the Christian majority. Just remember the passionate hatred for the MOA-AD by the Filipino majority.

If a peace pact is important to the government, then we would have had a working peace agreement a long time ago. It looks like there is something else that the people do not know. Perhaps to sweeten the deal, Malaysia offered something else – like a few billion pesos in exchange for a peace deal AND the dropping of the claim?

The government’s announcement that the MILF has dropped the claim on Palawan becomes very telling. While the MILF agreed to limit the talks on the small ARMM, which excludes about half of the Moros in the Philippines, I don’t see anything on the Framework Agreement that says Palawan or any other parts of the Philippines shall never be able to join the ARMM. On the contrary, I think there is a proviso that allows for future entry of barangays, cities, municipalities or even provinces.

MILF’S ACTIONS

The MILF’s apparent anger over the Lahad Datu incident, their approval of the handling of the event by the PeNoy government, Eid Kabalu’s nomination for ARMM governor and his appointment as consultant to the Armed Forces of the Philippines make one doubtful of MILF.

The MILF’s arrogance in saying that the Moros should not do anything which would imperil the peace talks is sheer B.S. Are the peace talks only for the benefit of the MILF? Are all Moro concerns supposed to be put in the back burner until the Peace Talks are ended? When will that be? In 2016 when there will be another Philippine president?

So please tell us, what have the Philippine government and the MILF sold to the Malaysian government? The Bangsa Moro and the whole Filipino people deserve to know.

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Related post by the same author: SABAH IS PART OF BANGSA MORO HOMELAND

International Court of Justice on Sabah

To all misguided Filipinos and Malaysians who keep on blabbering that the ICJ had already ruled against Sulu/the Philippines re Sabah, here are two articles written by Joseph G. Lariosa that they should read:

map sabah palawan

Obiter Dictum in ICJ  On Sabah Case May Save The Day for PH

JGL Eye Column

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(© 2013 Fil Am Extra Exchange)

CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – If the 100 armed men holed up in the village in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah are really members of the “royal army” of the Sultanate of Sulu to claim a promised land, the Philippine government may appeal to them to lay down their arms and leave peacefully.

But the Philippine government should take advantage of the opportunity by assuring them of its help by reviewing its Sabah claim before the International Court of Justice.

If the armed men are Filipinos, that is only the second time that a group of Filipinos were trying to forcibly re-take Sabah from Malaysia. In 1968, it was reported that President Marcos was training a team of saboteurs on Corregidor to infiltrate Sabah but the attempt was aborted.

First of all, if the Philippines has the wherewithal to invade Sabah, there is no assurance of success just like the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba by the United States.

Secondly, when push comes to shove, in the dispute between the Philippines and Malaysia over Sabah, the United States has no option but to side with the Philippines because in 1906 and in 1920, and as late as July 10, 1946, less than a week after the Philippines was granted Independence by the U.S., the U.S. had reminded Great Britain, which had dominion over what would later become Malaysia that Sabah, earlier known as North Borneo, is not owned by Great Britain but by the Philippine Sultanate of Sulu.

And thirdly, when the International Court of Justice rejected the application of the Philippines to claim Sabah in 2001 to intervene in a dispute between Indonesia and Malaysia for possession of Sabah’s Pulau Sipadan and Pulau Ligitan, its ruling against the Philippines was a mere obiter dictum. In that dispute, the ICJ ruled in 2002 for Malaysia because of Malaysia’s effective occupation of Sabah. But Indonesia does not have a Sultanate of Sulu as its claimant, unlike the Philippines.

In legal parlance, an obiter dictum is merely a statement made by a judge in the course of his judgment, which may not precisely be a relevant issue before him. It has no binding authority. It is a by-product of the original judgment. It is merely a remark or opinion of the judge.

“RATIO DECIDENDI”

On the other hand, the same ruling is considered a “ratio decidendi” against Indonesia and for Malaysia as the ICJ applied the “rule of law” based on the facts of the case or applied the “rule, which the court regarded as governing the case.”

In other words, if the Philippines were to revive its case directly against Malaysia before the ICJ, if the ICJ will use “ratio decidendi,” not obiter dictum in its ruling, the Philippines can get a different ruling from Indonesia’s claim against Malaysia.

In “ratio decidendi,” the Philippines can invoke its own evidence and merits of its case, and if the court gives the Philippines its day in court, I believe, the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu and its “royal army” will no longer disturb the ruling and the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu will just cede peacfully Sabah to Malaysia if the Philippines gets an adverse ruling.

Without giving the Philippines its due process, the ICJ’s obiter dictum against the Philippines will not appease the heirs of Sultanate of Sulu and by extension the Philippine government.

That is why I agree with the stand taken by former University of the Philippines Professor Nur Misuari, head of the Moro National Liberation Front, urging the Philippine government to pursue its dormant claim to Sabah.

During negotiation before ICJ, it is going to be shown that the perpetual amount of lease now being paid by the Malaysian government to the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu in the amount of 6,300 Malaysian ringgits (US$1,500 or 63,000 Philippine pesos) a year is really an insult, if not indolent. It is merely a drop in the bucket to the agreement signed in 2011 by Sabah government’s Petronas (Malaysian government oil and gas company) and Shell for a 30-year production sharing contract for enhanced oil recovery projects in offshore Sarawak and Sabah. According to a Petronas press release, “If (the deal is) realised, around 765 million barrels of oil reserves are expected to be recovered through the improvement to the recovery efficiency of the fields, translating into additional production of 90,000 to 100,000 barrels of oil per day.” It means a mouth-watering income of US$10-million to US$11.2-million a day at current oil price of US$112 per barrel.

Perhaps, the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu could argue before the ICJ that they may not be able to effectively occupy the whole state of Sabah but they are entitled to royalty to any oil and gas exploration as a form of rental payment.

I spoke to one of the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu, who just retired from her job from University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, who told me her relatives want to have a piece of the pie of the income from Sabah’s oil and natural resources before they come into an agreement. She also introduced to me to two of her brothers, who are also employed in the Midwest, when I met them in Chicago,Illinois, last year.

NORTH BORNEO HIH COURT RULED FOR HEIRS OF SULTAN OF SULU

A ll the historical data point to the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu as the owners of Sabah. Nobody disputes this.

Even the Chief Justice C.F.C. Macaskie of the High Court of North Borneo issued a ruling in 1939, saying the heirs of Sultan of Sulu are entitled to the “cession money,” following the death of Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram II in June 1936, who was childless. The propriety claimants (Dayang Dayang Hadji Piandao and eight other heirs) were awarded the “cession money” as proof of Sultan of Sulu’s ownership of the said property. The ruling was the basis of the payment of annual rental of Sabah amounting to 6,300 Malaysian ringgits per year (U.S.$1,500 or 63,000 Philippine pesos).

But what I dispute was the dismissive demeanor of Malaysia towards the Philippine claim that the dispute is a “non-issue” as there is no desire from the actual people of Sabah to be part of thePhilippines or of the Sutanate of Sulu.

Really?

Did the Malaysian government ever allow the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu to talk to their tenants in Sabah to find out their sentiments if they were really against the Sultanate by way of a referendum for the purpose? Did the Malaysian government allow the Sultanate air time in mass media in Sabah to explain to their tenants that because they are residing on a piece of land owned by a Filipino Sultanate of Sulu, they are supposed to pay rental directly to their landlord – the heirs to the Sultanate of Sulu – not to a third party or middleman such as the Malaysian government?

If I were the heirs to the Sultanate of Sulu while they are waiting for the ruling of the ICJ, I am not going to encash the 6,300 Malaysian ringgits to protest and humiliate the Malaysian government just as Fidel Castro refused and refuses to encash the US$2,000 annual rental payment of the U.S. to use the Guantanamo U.S. Base in order to humiliate the U.S. into giving up the perpetual rental under the Platt Amendment. By the way, even after the U.S. increased  the rental to the Guantanamo Naval Base to peg it to current inflation to US$14,000 annually, Cuba will still not encash the rental payment check.

Come to think of it, when the Philippines leased the Clark Air Base and Subic Base to the U.S., which account for 245 square miles land area, the U.S. was paying $200-M annual rental to the Philippine government. While Sabah, which has 28,430 square miles, or 116 times bigger than the U.S. Bases, the Malaysian government is only renting Sabah for a song! # # #

Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at: (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

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old map

Opinion  OP-ED  Joseph G. Lariosa 

ICJ Rules Out Malaysia’s Claim On Sabah

CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – F.B. Harrison is one of the major streets in Metro Manila but I wondered why. I only learned lately from a fellow Filipino cyberfriend, Jose Sison Luzadas, that when the Philippines’ seventh civilian American Gov. Francis Burton Harrison died in Flemington, New Jersey in 1957, he left a will that his remains be repatriated to the Philippines and be buried at the Manila North Cemetery in La Loma.

When he was no longer the U.S. Governor General, Harrison became an advisor to Philippine Vice President and Foreign Affairs Secretary Elpidio Quirino. He presented to Quirino on Feb. 27, 1947 a copy of the Sabah Lease Treaty document in Malay language written on Arabic script translated by American anthropologist H. Otley Beyer of the University of the Philippines. Austrian Baron von Overbeck and British lawyer Alfred Dent told the Royal Colonial Institute on May 12, 1885 that the agreement they obtained from the Sultan of Sulu on Jan. 22, 1878 was for the lease of North Borneo and did not forfeit the Sultan’s sovereign rights.

 On June 26, 1946, the British North Borneo Company entered into an agreement with the British Government, transferring its interests, powers and rights over to the British Crown to become State of North Borneo. It became a British colony. Harrison called this arrogant and baseless move as British “political aggression.” He advised the soon to become young Philippine Republic to take the matter up before the United Nations.

It caught the U.S. off-guard to protest the British violation of the 1907 Exchange of Notes between the U.S. and Great Britain and the subsequent Jan. 2, 1930 Convention. According to the International Court of Justice in a 2002 ruling in the dispute between Malaysia and Indonesia over the islands of Ligitan and Sipadan, the 1907 Exchange of Notes was “a temporary arrangement between Great Britain and the U.S. that did not involve a transfer of territorial sovereignty (but) merely provided for a continuation of the administration by the British North Borneo Company of the islands situated more than three marine leagues from the coast of North Borneo.”

NO NEED FOR COBBOLD COMMISSION

In rejecting a conditional surrender of the Sultan of Sulu’s Royal Army, who want Malaysia to settle the Sabah dispute, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak ruled out any negotiation on the dispute “that has been determined legally as far back as 1878 and subsequently by the referendum conducted by the Cobbold Commission ahead of the formation of Malaysia.”

The Prime Minister might not have been told by his advisers that referendum for self-determination as far as Philippines’ claim to Sabah is concerned is out of the question.

Based on the Indonesia-Malaysia dispute, the ICJ ruled that “effectivities” and sentiments of the people in the area for self-determination will only be at play if parties in the dispute do not have “treaty-based title” to support their claim. Both Indonesia and Malaysia did not have any documentary evidence to show in their claims. So the court turned to “effectivities” in coming up with the decision in favor of Malaysia.

If the Philippines comes to ICJ, it will only be armed with the copies of the Lease Agreement of the Sultan of Sulu with Overbeck and the 1907 Exchange of Notes and the Jan. 2, 1930 Convention that ICJ had already ruled did not cause the transfer of sovereign rights from Spain to Great Britain. Malaysia would have the burden of overturning these evidence.

In its case before the ICJ, Malaysia said “it was successor to the Sultan of Sulu, the original title-holder to the disputed (Sabah) islands, further to a series of alleged transfers of that title to Spain, the United States, Great Britain on behalf of the State of North Borneo.” But the ICJ said this argument cannot stand.

After obtaining a lease treaty from the Sultan of Sulu, Overbeck relinquished his rights and interest over to Dent’s British North Borneo Company (BNBC).  Dent applied for a Royal Charter with United Kingdom on Dec. 2, 1878 based on the lease treaty signed away by the Sultan of Sulu on Jan. 22, 1878.

But in an official letter of Jan. 7, 1882, Earl Granville, then, head of the United Kingdom  Foreign Office, stated, “The British crown assumed no dominion or sovereignty over the territories occupied by British North Borneo Company, did not grant the company any powers of government and (it) recognized the delegation of powers by the Sultan of Sulu in whom sovereignty remained vested.”

PROTOCOL OF MARCH 7, 1885 QUESTIONABLE

So, when BNBC transferred its rights over to the UK on June 26, 1946, UK merely acquired powers delegated by the Sultan of Sulu, who retained sovereignty over the Territory.

In the Capitulation of July 22, 1878, Art. I of the Protocol, it declared as “beyond discussion the sovereignty of Spain over all the Archipelago of Sulu and the dependence thereof,” following Sulu’s conquest by Spain in June 1878.

The Sultan of Sulu revoked the lease of Jan. 22, 1878 and in September 1878, a Spanish warship attempted but failed to take control of North Borneo. This caused Great Britain to protest and a treaty among Great Britain, Germany and Spain was forged.

In the Protocol of March 7, 1885, under Art. III, the Spanish government “renounces as far as regards the British government, all claims of sovereignty over the territory of the continent of Borneo, which belong, or which have belonged in the past to the Sultan of Sulu (Jolo) and which comprise the neighboring islands … from the coast, and which form part of the territories administered by the company styled the British North Borneo Company.”

There was no logic on this protocol for Spain to renounce the property and sovereignty of the Sultan of Sulu in favor of the British. Spain did not get any incentive or tradeoff to give up the property and sovereignty of Sultan of Sulu’s Archipelago and Dependencies. When Spain signed the 1898 Peace Treaty with the U.S., the FilipinoKatipuneros aided by the U.S. beat Spain and Spain got $20-Million dollar to give up the Philippine and Sulu Archipelago, including North Borneo.

When the Sultan of Sulu gave up its property to Spain, it was by conquest. But in the Protocol of March 7, 1885, there was no reason for Spain to give up the Sultan of Sulu’s property to Great Britain because Britain did not beat Spain in any battle by conquest nor gave Spain money or anything of value in exchange of Sultan of Sulu’s property, including North Borneo.

That’s why when Spain signed the 1898 Treaty, the U.S. was able to keep the Sultan of Sulu’s Archipelago, including North Borneo, intact.

When the U.S. pressed for the Sultan’s property under the 1898 Treaty with Spain, Great Britain did not object but rather sought an arrangement with the U.S. that would ensure continuity of BNBC’s administration of the Sultan of Sulu’s North Borneo that resulted in the Exchange of Notes of July 3 and 10, 1907 and the Jan. 2, 1930 Convention. The  convention did not involve any transfer of sovereignty, according to ICJ. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

Fighting continues in Sabah

It’s been two weeks since the Malaysian police and army attacked the 200 or so men and women from the Sultanate of Sulu. The Malaysian and Philippine governments announced the “end of the standoff” and declared the surrender of ten of the Sulu Sultan’s men.

It’s been 10 days since the Malaysians carpet bombed Lahad Datu using fighter jets. The Malaysian police and military in Sabah were reinforced with seven battalions from Kuala Lumpur as they attacked the 200 0r so men and women accompanying the Rajah Muda of Sulu. The Malaysian government announced the “complete defeat” of the Sultan’s men.

Yet the Sultan’s men and women are still standing and fighting.

There is complete news blackout imposed by Malaysia. Foreign or local media are not allowed in Sabah.  And the Philippine government is totally submissive to the desires of the Malaysian government.

Sultan Jamal ul Kiram III
Sultan Jamal ul Kiram III

FROM THE DAILY TRIBUNE:

AS INTENSE FIGHTING IN SABAH RECURS

Noy aides rachet up damage control

As intense fighting erupted anew between followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, led by his brother Radja Muda Agbimmudin Kiram, and Malaysian forces in Sabah yesterday, resulting in deaths from the opposing sides, Malacañang aides have gone full blast on their damage control to save President Aquino’s hide from the many criticisms over his mishandling the Sabah crisis and not protecting the Filipinos in Sabah.

A Tribune source, who has links to the group of Radja Muda, said fighting erupted anew in Sempurna and Tanjung Bato areas between followers of the Kirams and Malaysian forces.

“War is still on in Sempurna and Tanjung Bato…many Malaysian security forces were killed while five on the RSA (Royal Sultanate Army) and four were wounded,” the source said.

The same source earlier told The Tribune about the influx of Tausug fighters to Sabah to fight along their clansmen now the subjects of intensified police and military operations by Malaysia.

“Crackdown by Malaysian forces is continuing,” the source said.

The source also denied reports that at least 55 followers of Radja Muda had been killed since the intensified operations were launched last March 1.

The source also relayed the Radja Muda’s group’s concern over the plight of innocent Filipinos being subjected by the crackdown.

There were reported abuses by Malaysian forces against Filipinos suspected of having links to the Kirams in Sabah.

At least 79 individuals have been rounded up since the crackdown started two weeks ago.

On the homefront, Aquino and his aides are  in an all-out-media campaign and are into damage control, full steam as well as their justification of diverting the issue to a conspiracy theory leading to the NBI action against the Kiram clan along with other individuals and to dismiss negative feedbacks of mishandling on the Sabah conflict resulting to almost 70 deaths of Filipinos.

These efforts by Malacañang were evident as the Presidential Communication Office brought one Cabinet secretary after the other into the daily press briefing to explain the Sabah incident in the Malacanang Press Center.

Aquino spokesman Edwin Lacierda defended their actions, claiming that their presence during the briefings  was not due to the highly negative feedback being received in Aquino and his aides’  handling of the crisis.

Lacierda said several Cabinet secretaries have been conducting their press briefings as well.

Social Services Secretary Dinky Soliman went to the Malacañang Press Center Wednesday to explain the situation in Tawi-tawi on  the food distribution to the deportees wherein she also admitted she has not been able to see the actual  situation there.

Then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima followed, Thursday  explaining that a group of the alleged Royal Sultanate Army was intercepted on board a boat crossing the border in going to Tawi-tawi, Sulu.
Soliman, not contented with the Wednesday press briefing, still conducted a media interview at her DSWD office yesterday,  according to Lacierda.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas who went to Sulu on Wednesday had his own media briefing, flooding the  media with the government’s campaign to justify that Aquino and his men are doing their jobs well in relation to the crisis.

“Secretary Mar Roxas also had a press briefing to also inform the public on the comprehensive efforts of government with respect to relief, with respect to protection, security, and also to the work of DSWD, as well as the offering sustainable livelihood to those who are displaced individuals who decide to remain here,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda explained the administration has not mishandled the situation even if some sectors such as the netizens showed disapproval by hacking the website of the office of the President.

“There is no reason to think that we have mishandled the situation. The online perception is that this has really no traction insofar as the greater social media is concerned,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda expressed confidence that the efforts made by the administration have been earning support from the public than with the Kiram clan.

“Sympathies of the people are clear: The Kiram family did an act. While they have a claim, the manner of doing it is wrong. The manner that they chose to pursue their claim is improper. And so that has always been our belief. The public sees the resolution. The sincerity of this government to pursue a peaceful resolution prior to March 1 when the violence started,” Lacierda said. “So we believe that we continue to inform the public. Now that the violence has erupted, what we would like to lay out is what the government is doing insofar as protecting our Filipinos is Sabah and those displaced individuals who have returned from Sabah; providing assistance to them and laying it all out for the public to know —that our main concern is for the 800,000 Filipinos in Sabah,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda admitted that the Philippine embassy officials in Kuala Lumpur have still to await word from the Malaysian authorities to grant requests of full access to the Filipinos being detained in the custody of Sabah police officials.

“For those also who are currently detained in Sabah under the custody of Malaysian authorities, we continue to ask for consular access and, also, the reason the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia has people on the ground in Lahad Datu also,” Lacierda said.

Secretary de Lima said yesterday confirmed reports of the interception of two groups of armed men at  the vicinity of Omapoy Island, Tawi-Tawi while the second batch was seen at the vicinity of Andulingan Island, Tawi-Tawi crossing the border from Sabah, Malaysia.”
“So, with that development, the processes are now being undertaken by a composite team with the end view of filing the appropriate charges against them as soon as possible,” De Lima said.

The Tribune asked De Lima as to whether she has received the spot report of the apprehending team on the seas. which is standard operating procedure.

“The spot report is still there because there is no good communications. But the men in the ground sent a brief report on email. I told them there is a presscon today, although I know the facts when they were reporting that to us yesterday. But I have not seen anything in writing, so I asked for something to be emailed to me,” de Lima said.

De Lima added that “this may not yet been the official spot report, but since NBI men are there, PNP men are there, that’s easy to validate by the composite team if there is truth to this and we have no reason to believe otherwise. This is practically an official report—initial official report.”

De Lima said she also has no list of the alleged confiscated assorted firearms from the group whom the police claimed are members of the Royal Sultanate Army.

“No, I don’t have the list. What I know of is assorted firearms and other deadly weapons. We will know.  I think that will be included, if charges have been filed by the arresting officer,” she said.

“Well, if you remember what the President said on the first presscon. His appeal was  ‘lay down your arms, come home peacefully’. But it could not be that the state or the government will look blindly on the violations of laws,” De Lima said.

“Now, of course on the diplomatic modes and on the  negotiations there may be discussions in principle, theoretically, hypothetically, and everyone adheres to possibly resolve, something an incident as serious as this, can be resolved peacefully.

“But since there is a violation, and we look at the consequences, the seriousness and the gravity of the consequences, unintended or otherwise, then  government must act,” De Lima said.

She added that according to the reports reaching her, one of the groups was even wounded and attended by the law enforcers than to bring into the hospital for security reasons.

De Lima said the group would have to remain on the island which is being guarded by the composite team pending the filing of appropriate charges and the conduct of a preliminary investigation by the DoJ prosecutors under by De Lima.

“Okay, I would want to avoid specifying the charges at this point. What I can confirm which is quite obvious to everyone is the illegal possession of firearms because they were caught with or they were found with assorted weapons.

“And that, definitely, is punishable under our laws; and in fact, we have a Comelec  gun ban existing. So, it’s not only under the Revised Penal Code but also, under appropriate election laws, they can be charged immediately with the illegal possession of firearms and other deadly weapons. That’s clear.

De Lima said that because there are no pieces of evidence on her possession she preferred to rely on his enforcers on the area.
“And another set of offenses will be those that will be subjected to the regular preliminary investigation. But, since I don’t have the evidence, I don’t have the specific facts, I cannot as yet give you those charges because that might also be misinterpreted or misconstrued as prejudging them. So that will be judgment call of those on the ground.

As I have said, it’s a composite team — PNP-CIDG, NBI  —so they are now assessing, evaluating, and preparing the appropriate charges,” De Lima said.

By Paul Atienza and Mario J. Mallari