Kiram on Aquino: He's not acting like a Filipino

Thea Alberto-Masakayan
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom

For Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III has failed the Filipino people when he chose to go with Malaysia in deciding on the Sabah crisis.

The embattled 74-year-old Muslim leader also hit Aquino for "siding" with Malaysia instead of "hearing out" what his fellow Filipinos would say.

Timeline: Understanding the Sabah crisis 

"I've been thinking our enemy are the Malaysians..and I remember what the president said, "kayo ang boss ko", boss niya pala mga Malaysian [You are my boss. Instead his bosses are the Malaysians," Kiram said, noting of Aquino's famous inauguration line.

Kiram also lamented why Aquino did not even listen to his grievances.

"What kind of... why could he not help us assess this matter? He's our president and he's Filipino. He doesn't like to become a Filipino! And I'm more Filipino than they are," Kiram told Yahoo! Southeast Asia in an exclusive interview Friday night.

This develops as the Malaysian government continues to refuse Kiram's proposed unilateral ceasefire and amid a Philippine subpoena to the Muslim leader's adviser. Aquino has continually called for Kiram's supporters to lay down their arms and "come home."

Related story: Malaysia minister says payment to Sultan not 'rent'

Kiram said his brother, Raja Muda Agbimuddin, and his followers had waited for so long before taking action on their claims to Sabah.

It could be recalled that Aquino himself admitted that as early as 2010, Kiram sent a letter to him but his office failed to respond after the letter went missing due to "bureaucratic maze."

"Let me make clear that there was no intention to ignore your letter. Knowing this now, will you let your mistaken belief dictate your course of action?" Aquino had said.

Celia Kiram, the Sultan's wife, said during the initial days of the standoff, the Aquino administration also sent emissaries such as ARMM Acting Governor Mujiv Hataman, presidential political adviser Ronald Llamas, and Cesar Garcia, Director-General of the National Security Council.

She however lamented that these "emissaries" were not after negotiations with the Sultan.

"It's not a negotiation but a coercion," the Sultan's wife added.

Aquino, for his part, however claims Kiram had "conspirators" and warned that charges were being readied. Kiram however claims this was his and his supporters own doing as they impose their "rights" on Sabah.

"Money is not [what's important]. What's important is our right, dignity and honor," said Kiram.

"I want to leave a legacy in our homeland, I believe it is really legal, we can show the world we have evidence and the right," he added.

Related story: Kiram, followers will face charges says De Lima