Arroyo party on Aquino conspiracy theory: Shut up until you have evidence-A A +A
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
MANILA -- The Aquino administration should keep quiet on its conspiracy theory on the bloody standoff in Sabah until it has evidence against the supposed plotters, the president of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats said Wednesday.
"If they know something but won't disclose the names of those involved due to lack of evidence, then they should have not said anything in the first place. Come up with cold hard facts and stop laying the blame on certain people," Lakas-CMD president and Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said in a press conference.
President Benigno Aquino III earlier said in a televised address that the ongoing standoff in Sabah was a result of a conspiracy and that the followers of Sultan Sulu Jamalul Kiram III could not have planned this by themselves.
Kiram's camp had already denied the Chief Executive's allegation.
Former national security adviser Norberto Gonzales, who served during the administration of former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, also denied that he is involved in the Sabah crisis. Gonzales and Kiram are close friends.
The House opposition bloc, which Lakas-CMD members belong to, said the supposed conspiracy was just another "smokescreen tactic" of the Aquino administration to divert public attention from its failure to uphold the Philippines' claim over Sabah.
"Everyone starts looking at that possible angle without looking at the real situation so let's not distract everyone. The fact of the matter is that over a dozen of our Muslim brothers are dead on Malaysian soil. That's a fact. We should have avoided that from the beginning," Romualdez added.
House Minority Leader and Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez also brushed off claims that Arroyo is possibly linked to the Sabah standoff. Kiram ran for senator in 2007 under Arroyo's Team Unity slate.
"The former President who's in the hospital where cell phone is not allowed is directing this?" Suarez said.
Arroyo is under hospital detention at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in connection with the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office intelligence funds.
Romualdez criticized the handling of the crisis, saying that the Philippine and Malaysian governments should already have strengthened relations noting that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak personally witnessed the signing of the Bangsamoro framework agreement in Malacañang last year.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario flew to Malaysia Tuesday to personally appeal for "maximum tolerance" on Kiram's group. A few hours later, however, Malaysian forces conducted airstrikes targeting Kiram's followers.
The Lakas-CMD president said the Aquino administration should pursue an "aggressive diplomatic protest" against Malaysia.
"We reiterate our stand to support a peaceful resolution but it should not be achieved at the expense of bartering our sovereignty, nor the constitutional right of any Filipino. The government should act decisively and with wisdom regarding the historical and legal basis of the Sabah issue,” the House minority bloc added. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)