Too Late the Hero-A A +A
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
AS THE phrase above suggests, any belated action oftentimes spell disaster not because it was the wrong move made at its inception but rather, the lack of a proactive approach towards resolving a particular matter.
This is precisely the case with the brewing Sabah controversy. In this instance we have the sultan of Sulu and his followers loudly proclaiming their renewed interest at once more claiming North Borneo as their own, this after more than a hundred years of being satisfied of receiving a mere paltry royalty fee “annual rent” from Malaysia for the said place. If we are to follow the reports from the media, it would seem to appear that the sultan and his relatives had an epiphany of sorts and seemed to finally awaken to the conclusion that they had to go home to Sabah, never mind that it has now been annexed as part of the territorial jurisdiction of Malaysia thanks to the British. It’s like the sultan and his brothers saying that after so many years of allowing another entity to occupy and use it’s supposed “home” in exchange for royalty fees they just finally decided to take back their “home” from the renter and started occupying Sabah unannounced.
In this modern day and age, and under our existing laws, the owner of a property leased (lessor) cannot just simply eject the renter (lessee) without proper and due notification, otherwise the latter has a legal recourse available against the former.
While the sultan of Sulu and his relatives may indeed possess the historical right and perhaps even the legal right to claim Sabah as their own, yet their remains compliance and necessarily obedience, to both local and international laws that serve as a guide in the relationship and comity of nations. Indeed, while the objective being claimed by the Sultan may be legitimate, that of getting back their property leased to other entities, yet it might be a little too late to pursue such course of action given the lateness of their response. It cannot simply be done as an afterthought given the gravity and delicate nature of the situation.
If the sultan wanted to reclaim Sabah, he should have exerted all effort way back in 1950 up to 1962, when a resolution was passed by Congress urging the President of the Philippines to recover North Borneo consistent with international law and procedure to which the latter filed a claim to it, and not simply waived his rights and interests over it in favor of the government back then.
By his belated action of attempting to reawaken his sultanates claim over Sabah and unceremoniously sending some of his followers to occupy a portion of the place, the sultan has inadvertently (deliberately?) engineered a dangerously volatile situation in the Southeast region, one which has already taken several lives and fomented further strife in the near and immediate future. This is actually late heroics for the sultan who sees honor in reclaiming a piece of land over and above the lives of his followers and relatives, not to mention the innocent civilians already caught in the turmoil. A way out of this of course is for the sultan to immediately recall his followers in Sabah, to avoid further bloodshed, and demand from the Philippine government to act vigorously once and for all on the claim for Sabah through diplomatic means.
Note however that a belated response or action, such as that done by the Sultan of Sulu and followers, has resulted in a perilous journey that will most certainly end in catastrophe.
The government must also do its part and begin anew the process of claiming Sabah if the evidence will warrant, similar to what is being done in the Spratly islands if only to impose the nation’s sovereignty over its properties.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 06, 2013.