CPP accuses Aquino of 'abandoning' Filipinos

Kim Arveen Patria
Kim Arveen Patria
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom
Malaysian police carry the coffins of two dead officers killed in an ambush in Semporna, at the Subang Royal Malaysian Air Force base in Kuala Lumpur on March 4, 2013. A total of 27 people have been reported killed since the militants landed on February 12 in the state of Sabah on Borneo island by boat and claimed the state on behalf of the heir to a now-defunct Philippine Islamic sultanate

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Tuesday accused President Benigno Aquino III of "abandoning" the Sulu sultanate's men and "endorsing" Malaysia's all-out attacks to end the standoff in Sabah.

The Aquino administration "refused to act upon the clamor for a resolute effort to pursue the Philippine territorial claim to Sabah," the CPP said in a statement posted on its website.

This, as it condemned the government for denouncing the heirs of the Sulu sultanate for asserting its claim on Sabah as an ancestral land and demanding the armed group's surrender to Malaysian authorities.

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The Aquino administration "has succeeded only in further inflaming the heirs and armed followers of the Sultanate of Sulu," the group said.

"It has shut the door to a peaceful resolution of the armed standoff at Sabah, paving the way for the attacks by the Malaysian armed forces against the Filipino armed contingent in Sabah," it added.

The attacks launched to end the standoff endangered not only the Sulu Sultanate's fighters, CPP said, but also the Filipino residents in Sabah, numbered at around 800,000.

"The Filipino community in Sabah is now being subjected to harassment and suppression by the Malaysian armed and police forces," the CPP claimed.

The group went on to say that the standoff in Malaysia underlines the government's "failure to take up the cudgels for Filipino interests" in Sabah and "anywhere else in the world."

"The Filipinos in Sabah have been largely abandoned by the Philippine government over the years," CPP said.

"It is thus hypocritical for Aquino to invoke the interests of the Filipinos in Sabah in demanding the surrender of the armed contingent of the Sultanate of Sulu," it added.

It also called the administration's suspicions of a conspiracy by political foes as a "vain effort to justify its policy."

The President on Monday vowed to make accountable those who will be found guilty of orchestrating the Sabah standoff.

Meanwhile, CPP expressed support in pursuing Filipino claims to Sabah in "various political, diplomatic and other possible arenas," including an international tribunal.

It also urged Sabah claimants to demand "an independent foreign policy and the country’s right to self-determination where territorial integrity and the sovereign will of the people are given primordial importance."

Related story: Malaysia unleashes military on Filipino Sulu fighters

This, as it claimed that Aquino's foreign policy is "subservient to the dictates of the U.S. government" which CPP said has interests in the peace process with the Moro rebels.

The CPP itself has been in protracted peace negotiations with the government, in an effort to end decades-long communist insurgency in the country.

"As long as the Philippines is under a puppet regime of the U.S. imperialists, it can never stand on solid ground in asserting its claim over other disputed territories," the CPP said.

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