A jester in the PalaceBy Ramon Tulfo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
After I read the report that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was preparing to file charges against Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and his men for the Sabah standoff, I laughed out loud till my belly ached.
If this columnist, who’s not a lawyer, doubled up in laughter at the DOJ move, you can just imagine how lawyers of average intelligence would have reacted to the Justice Department’s pea-brained action.
The DOJ is like the congressman in the 1960s who filed a bill outlawing typhoons.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who’s supposed to know better since she was a bar topnotcher, said Kiram and his men could be liable for 1) inciting to war, 2) illegal possession of firearms, 3) illegal assembly and violation of the gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
She said possible charges of rebellion are also being planned against Kiram and his group.
Earlier, President Noy said Kiram and his followers violated a provision in the Constitution that says that the government renounces war as an instrument of national policy.
Look, guys, Sultan Kiram didn’t violate any laws in the country!
The sultan didn’t incite his men to take up arms against our government.
The sultan’s men can never be charged with illegal possession of firearms because they’re carrying guns—if at all—outside the Philippines.
They can’t be charged with illegal assembly and violation of the election gun ban since they’re outside the Philippines.
The sultan’s men are in Sabah and therefore beyond the pale of Philippine laws.
Neither can the sultan and his men be charged with violating that provision in the Constitution that renounces war as an instrument of national policy since Kiram never declared war on Malaysia.
Kiram undertook the occupation of a tiny portion of Sabah as sultan of Sulu and not as a Filipino citizen.
The sultan’s followers violated Malaysian laws, but that’s Malaysia’s problem not ours.
Since when has the Philippines, a sovereign nation, become a “spokesnation” for Malaysia?
As Visayans would say, “Ay sus, Ginoo, naunsa na man ang inyong utok diha sa Malakanyang? (Oh, Lord, what happened to your brains there in Malacañang?)”
There’s a joke reportedly making the rounds among the Tausugs—people of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi who are subjects of the Sultanate of Sulu—that
P-Noy has become the spokesperson of the Malaysian prime minister.
Whenever the joke is told by one Tausug to another, I am told, they would laugh out loud.
Not at the joke, but at the President.
I mean no disrespect for the President, but he has turned himself into a clown in the Sabah standoff.
It’s better for him to keep quiet and let his people at the Department of Foreign Affairs do the talking on the Sabah issue.
As this was being written yesterday afternoon, there was a report of sporadic gunfire at Tanduao village in Lahad Datu town in Sabah.
Shots were reportedly fired between the Malaysian police and the sultan’s men.
Early reports said the Malaysian police retreated but came back.
The sultan’s men, who are probably members or former members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), are veteran fighters compared to Malaysian policemen who, until a few years ago, carried only nightsticks.
Between MNLF men used to years of fighting and Malaysian cops who only know how to handle nightsticks, who do you think will prevail?
More from this Column:
- Delfin Lee and charged Navy officers
- Another Montemaria shrine rising in Batangas City
- Two legal minds who seem ignorant of the law
- The healing priest’s rich lifestyle
- Not all convicts are guilty