Sulu Sultan: We won’t leave Sabah
The Sulu sultan ignores President Beningo Aquino's advice to stand down and says his followers will remain in Sabah.MANILA: The heirs of the Sultan of Sulu and their followers are not going to leave Sabah despite a stern warning from President Aquino, a spokesman said Tuesday.
Abraham Idjirani, secretary general and spokesperson of the heirs to the sultanate, said Sultan Jamalul Kiram III was willing to be arrested if the Aquino government decides to file a case against the chieftain.
But Idjirani stressed that the “royal forces” of the Kirams did not intend to trigger a war when they started occupying the village of Tanduao in Lahad Datu in Sabah on Feb. 9.
“What we need now is a mutual understanding,” Idjirani said in a press briefing held at Kiram’s house in Taguig City.
“We welcome the statement of the President. It’s a development on the right track,” he added.
He said the decision of Kiram’s followers to stay in Sabah “is not a hardline stance.”
The President on Tuesday called on Kiram III to stand down and order his followers to come home “as soon as possible,” warning of “consequences of your actions” should they continue to refuse to leave Lahad Datu in Sabah.
“We have not yet reached the point of no return, but we are fast approaching that point,” said the President, apparently referring to the 48-hour extended deadline imposed by Malaysian authorities for the group led by Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, brother of the sultan, to leave the village of Tanduao.
The deadline was to expire Tuesday.
Despite his appeal to the sultan and his followers, Aquino said they could face charges under Philippine laws for choosing to pursue their claim to Sabah using arms.
In fact, the President had already ordered Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to launch an investigation.