Why doesn’t President Benigno Aquino III follow the advice of former President Fidel V. Ramos for him to meet face-to- face with Sultan Jamalul Kiram III to resolve the Sabah crisis?
The former president suggests that Aquino should secure a pledge from Kiram to be allowed to represent the Sultanate of Sulu.
In turn, Aquino should vow to Sultan Kiram he would try to put the Sultanate’s interests first in talking with Malaysia, said Ramos.
Although the advice is unsolicited, it comes from a predecessor who is an expert in diplomacy.
Besides, it’s wise for the President to listen to the wisdom of age and experience.
Some people in the President’s close circle of advisers have told media Aquino is “matigas ang ulo” (hardheaded) and ignores unsolicited advice.
For example, a Palace official told the Philippine Daily Inquirer Aquino had been advised against making further comments about the Sabah issue but did not listen to the advice.
Although the government’s position is unpopular with the public, the President continues to side with Malaysia in the controversy.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak wants unconditional surrender as a counter to Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III’s offer of unilateral ceasefire from his men who have allegedly been mauled by Malaysian troops.
Razak thinks Malaysia has the upper hand in the Sabah crisis that has turned violent.
The euphoria over the Malaysian troops’ victory over the Sulu sultan’s men may be short-lived.
There are more than 2,000 Tausug warriors, current or former members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), spread out in different places in the island state.
Those men can create a big headache for Malaysia’s internal security.
Better for Razak to be humble and talk peace with the Sulu sultanate.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson contradicts the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that the 13 men who were killed by a combined police and military team were not killed in a rubout.
Even before he joined the Cabinet, Lacson has become a gadfly in Aquino’s government.
That’s a strong enough signal for the President to think twice before officially appointing him.
My public service program, “Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo,” (no exact translation, but ‘Seek Tulfo’s help’ comes close), receives complaints from fellow Filipinos.
But sometimes, foreigners come to see me, too, like Martin Glass, a Briton married to a Filipino woman. They live in Biñan, Laguna province.
Glass filed this complaint Monday: “I wish to protest the treatment that my wife and children have received from the Italian Embassy in Manila.
“I am a retired Hong Kong civil servant, and entitled to (my) government-sponsored sea passage from Hong Kong to the UK (United Kingdom), which is my country of origin.
“The government, therefore, booked me and my family to travel on the Cunard Cruise Liner Queen Victoria in March.
“Despite giving full supporting documents, the Italian Embassy has twice refused to issue a visa to enable us to pass through Italian waters and thus complete our journey.”
My staff tried but failed to get in touch with the Italian Embassy.
I wish the Italian Embassy would explain to Martin Glass why it refused to issue him and his family passage through Italian waters on board the cruise ship Queen Victoria.
Glass, being a former permanent representative of the Hong Kong government to Geneva with the rank of ambassador, is obviously not a terrorist.
So why was his visa application disapproved by the Italian Embassy?