Palace denies downgrading Sabah claim in deal over sea dispute
Malacañang denied on Monday a Vera Files report that the Philippines had offered to downgrade its Sabah claim in exchange for Malaysia’s support for its case against China before the United Nations.
“Absolutely, no truth to that information that there’s a supposed quid pro quo to drop the Sabah claim,” said Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte in a text message to the Inquirer.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma confirmed the subject report’s claim that the Department of Foreign Affairs recently sent a note verbale to the Malaysian embassy in Manila.
However, “Sabah is not in any way part of that note,” said Coloma, also head of the Palace-based Presidential Communications Operations Office.
“The note verbale that was written about was part of the (regular consultation) process” between Manila and Kuala Lumpur, he pointed out.
The same note was “about the features in the South China Sea and their implications on (the country’s) Extended Continental Shelf, or ECS claims,” Coloma explained.
Quoting DFA spokesperson Charles Jose, he noted “the Philippines has excellent relations with Malaysia.”
“In the context of our friendly, bilateral relations, our two countries have been for years exchanging ways on how to address the issue of the ECS in the South China Sea. The note verbale was part of that process,” he added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.