Palace denies claim of Sulu Sultan's clan on killing of Pinoys in Sabah standoff

(Updated 1:16 p.m.) Ten Filipinos holed up at a village in Sabah have been killed while four others were wounded when Malaysian authorities allegedly fired at them, the camp of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III claimed Friday noon. Malacañang, however, said that based on information reaching the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), there were neither casualties nor a gunfight in Sabah, belying the claim of Kiram's daughter, Princess Jacel Kiram. “Walang gunfight o firefight, warning shots were just fired. There were also no casualties,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said at an emergency briefing. Valte said the shots fired by the Malaysians were not intended to hurt the Filipinos. “Meron sa mga grupo sa Sabah na nagtangkang lumabas sa cordoned off security area [kaya nagkaroon ng] warning shots. Na-detain 'yung dalawa, tapos pinabalik na rin [sa cordoned off area,]” she said. At a separate press briefing in Taguig City, Jacel said, "We suffered 14 casualties — 10 dead and four wounded. Blood has flowed." Parts of the briefing were aired on radio dzBB. Jacel said the fighting happened even though in the last two days, the Kirams had been engaged in "formal and informal talks" for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. She called on the Malaysian government to clarify if it wants to engage in a dialogue or resort to other courses of action. Firing ended In an interview aired over GMA News TV's Balitanghali, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Raul Hernandez said the shooting has ended and that there were no casualties. "[Ayon sa impormasyon na] binigay sa amin ng ambassador [ng Malaysia] na merong nangyaring firing earlier pero walang mga casualties at yung firing na yan ay huminto na, wala nang putukan," he said. However, he said the Malaysian ambassador did not inform him why and when the firing began. "We are hoping to get more details on this later," he said. "Importante sa atin na matiyak ang kaligtasan ng ating mga kababayan doon sa Lahad Datu kaya patuloy tayong umaapila kay Sultan Jamalul na hikayatin na ang kanyang mga

tauhan na kusang umuwi na sa kani-kanilang mga pamilya at tahanan sa Mindanao," he added. Hernandez also said that a Philippine Navy ship is still on standby in case some of Kiram's followers decide to return to the country. He said they will give them enough time to think about the appeal of President Benigno Aquino III for them to leave Malaysia. In the meantime, Hernandez said the government will maintain open communication lines with Malaysian authorities. "Si (DFA Secretary Albert) Del Rosario is in touch with the Malaysian foreign minister at we are also in touch here with the Malaysian embassy, with the Malaysian ambassador, tapos yung embahada natin sa Kuala Lumpur is in touch with Malaysian authorities so tuloy-tuloy yung ating pakikipag-ugnayan sa kanila," Hernandez explained. Raja Muda not captured Meanwhile, Kiram's spokesman Abraham Idjirani contested government reports that there were no casualties, saying their casualty count of 14 came from Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, the sultan's brother and the leader of the group in Sabah. Idjirani also denied reports that Raja Muda had been wounded or captured. "He is well, he is not wounded," he said. He claimed that Malaysian security forces sneaked into the area where the Filipino group had been staying, "already penetrating their ground." Earlier, in an interview with radio dzBB at around 10 a.m. Friday, Raja Muda said they were shot at and had to "defend" themselves.

Asked what time the Malaysian forces allegedly moved in, Raja Muda Agbimuddin said, "oras na ito (at this time)." Reached for comment, the DFA's Hernandez said "we are still validating as of the moment" the report about the attack. The Malaysian Embassy through Raveendran Nair, First Secretary of Information and Public Diplomacy, also told GMA News Online, "At the moment, the embassy has no comment. The embassy will not issue a statement on the matter." The group in Sabah had adopted a defiant stance after being surrounded by Malaysian forces, and when the first deadline for them to leave peacefully lapsed midnight of Tuesday.

Composed of relatives and followers of the Sulu Sultan, the group arrived in Sabah on February 9 and have been in a standoff with Malaysian forces since then, after staking their claim on their supposed homeland.

Malaysian forces have blocked off their food and water supplies, but did not fire on them until Friday, while waiting for a peaceful resolution to the situation.

On Thursday, Malaysia's The Star online reported that the group of armed Filipinos coped with the blockade by living off the supplies in the houses abandoned by local villagers.

The news report said the Filipinos claimed they were "all fine" despite the land and sea blockade by Malaysian security forces. - with Kimberly Jane Tan and Patricia Denise Chiu/VVP/KBK/YA, GMA News


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Muslim group calls for universal peace
    Muslim group calls for universal peace

    As predominantly Catholic Philippines and the rest of the Christian world observe the Holy Week, peace advocates like the Young Muslim Professionals Network (YMPN) are appealing to Filipinos of various creeds and persuasion to embrace the universal message of kindness, love and peace. The group issued the call as peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front teeter due to the Mamasapano incident where members of the rebel group killed 44 police commandos on a …

  • Ex-WB exec pushes BBL passage
    Ex-WB exec pushes BBL passage

    A former World Bank official has warned of dire consequences for the Philippines if the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not passed into law. Nigel Roberts, former director on conflict, security and development, said that more conflict could occur without the BBL. “It takes about 15 years to get back to pre-conflict GDP growth rates, and 20 years for trade to recover,” Roberts said in his blog at the World Bank website. The World Bank estimated that economic losses amounted to $10 …

  • Despite typhoon, summer is here
    Despite typhoon, summer is here

    Super Typhoon Chedeng roared toward Luzon as the weather bureau announced the official start of summer in the country yesterday. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced yesterday the official start of the dry or summer season in the country due to the termination of the cold northeast monsoon. “The general public is advised to take precautionary measures to minimize heat stress and take note of the need in optimizing the daily use of …

  • Noy told: Just answer the questions
    Noy told: Just answer the questions

    Just answer the 20 questions. The Makabayan bloc of seven party-list representatives made this appeal to President Aquino yesterday after his spokesman claimed the Chief Executive has already answered most of the questions posed by the militant lawmakers regarding the Mamasapano incident. For instance, he said the President has not yet explained why he allowed then suspended Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima to take the lead in Oplan Exodus or the mission to …

  • DFA: Malaysia paying rent for Sabah
    DFA: Malaysia paying rent for Sabah

    Malaysia does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah but the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) maintained yesterday that the Malaysian government is paying rent for Sabah, indicating it rightfully belongs to the Philippines. The Malay Mail Online reported that Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Malaysia has not and does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah when asked by media about the reported offer of the Philippine government to downgrade its Sabah …

  • 63 OFWs returning from Yemen
    63 OFWs returning from Yemen

    Sixty-three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are set to return home from war-torn Yemen, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday. Baldoz said the licensed recruiters of the OFWs have assured the government of their immediate repatriation. Administrator Hans Cacdac of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has ordered the recruitment agencies to fulfill their obligation to bring home the OFWs. Baldoz called on Filipinos still in Yemen to avail themselves of the government’s …

  • Jinggoy gets furlough for shoulder checkup
    Jinggoy gets furlough for shoulder checkup

    Despite opposition from ombudsman lawyers, the Sandiganbayan yesterday granted detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s request to undergo a medical checkup at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital. Estrada was allowed to undergo a medical examination for pain in his left shoulder from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The senator was ordered to shoulder the expenses incurred by the Philippine National Police in  escorting him. In a pleading filed Monday with the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division, Estrada’s lawyers …

  • Tekken’s Josie Rizal gets flak
    Tekken’s Josie Rizal gets flak

    A professor of the University of the Philippines yesterday hit the portrayal of a Filipino character, whose name was based on Jose Rizal, in a Japanese-produced video game. “(It’s) offensive and unsuited for a big company like Bandai because they have the money to do research,” Gonzalo Campoamor II, professor of Life and Works of Rizal in UP Diliman, told The STAR. Japanese giant Namco Bandai recently introduced Josie Rizal, the first Filipino character in the popular fighting game franchise …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options