Palace to ex-security adviser Gonzales: Is he guilty?-A A +A
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III never mentioned the names of those who were allegedly conspiring with the family of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and are now subject of investigation, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda issued the clarification after former National Security adviser Norberto Gonzales reportedly stated that Aquino was apparently alluding to him as one of the conspirators in the move made by Kiram family's followers to invade Lahad Datu in Sabah.
"Is he guilty? The President never mentioned anybody. He said that 'I will not name names until I have sufficient evidence,'" Lacierda said in his regular press briefing in Malacañang.
Aquino, in a press conference on Monday, said that the government would make accountable those people who have been conspiring with the Kiram family.
The President has said that he received information that there was alleged connivance between the Kirams and the members of the previous administration.
"President Aquino never mentioned any name, so I don't know why Mr. Gonzales felt that he was the one being alluded to by President Aquino," Lacierda said.
The official said that Aquino was also made aware of the bombardment that the Malaysian forces made in Lahad Datu against the group of Rajah Muda Agbimmudin Kiram, the brother of the Sultan and leader of the group, which landed in Sabah on February 12.
Lacierda said that the fate now of the Royal Army of Sulu now lies on the hands of the Kiram family.
"I think everyone knows that we have done everything possible, and we continue to do everything possible to peacefully end this standoff. Unfortunately, the position taken by the Kiram family is a position that leads down to violence," he said.
"The fate of the 180 people in Lahad Datu lies with those who continue to make a defiant stand," he added.
Aquino has been asking the Kiram family to recall its forces in Lahad Datu, but the latter refused to heed the call.
Meanwhile, Lacierda said the Aquino administration does not see the ongoing hostilities in Lahad Datu a hindrance for the realization of a single community by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) by December 2015.
The regional grouping agreed last year during a summit in Cambodia to realize the Asean Community by 2015.
Aquino and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak have been in touch with each other on the Sabah crisis and both are working to resolve the issue at the soonest possible time, Lacierda said.
"This (Sabah) is not a hindrance," he said.
The President's perspective is much broader and he cares not only for the 180 people holed up in Lahad Datu, the Palace spokesman said.
"He cares not only for the 800,000 Filipinos in Sabah, he also has to be concerned with the interest of the 95 million Filipinos here in the Philippines. We have a national interest to protect and to promote," he said.
The Asean Community will be based on three pillars, namely, a security community, an economic community and a socio-cultural community. (SDR/Sunnex)