Did the President commit treason?-A A +A
Friday, March 8, 2013
BAYAN Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño wants the House of Representatives to investigate what he called the mishandling of the Sabah issue by President. So do his allies in the Left.
They said that the President committed treason in siding with Malaysia.
The United Nationalist Alliance, on the other hand, announced that they would not make the Sabah crisis a campaign issue but would not prevent any of its candidates who might want to make it so. This means that the likes of senatorial candidates Mitos Magsaysay and Richard Gordon can continue to attack Aquino for not helping the Sultan of Sulu.
It is easy to criticize but what do Casiño and his fellow travelers, Magsaysay and Gordon, wish Aquino would have done under the circumstances? How did the President side with Malaysia? What exactly did he do that constituted treason?
Let us review the events.
On Sept. 7, 2010, the brother of the Sultan of Sulu sent a letter to the President, presumably asking for his help in prosecuting the Sultan’s claim to Malaysia. The letter was forwarded by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), which received it on Sept. 24. It never reached Aquino.
Aquino may be blamed for the DFA’s failure to act on the letter under the principle of command responsibility. But did he commit treason? You tell me.
Apparently disheartened by the inaction on his claim, the Sultan decided to take matters into his own hand, sending armed fighters, led by his own brother, to Sabah.
Apprised of the situation, the President angrily orders the fighters to come home, saying they stood no chance against Malaysia’s armed might. He also threatened them with arrest when they came home.
It does not take rocket science to know that the sultan’s warriors were in danger of being decimated by the much larger Malaysian army. Aquino was therefore only stating the obvious. But his threat to arrest the Sultan’s men was wrong, very wrong. But was it treason?
Expectedly, the sultan’s fighters refused to go home, declaring they’d prefer death over the dishonor of surrender. Aquino negotiated with the Malaysians to extend their deadline for the Filipinos to surrender but failed to personally talk to the sultan. Was that treason?
The Malaysians became impatient, attacked the Filipinos’ positions and killed at least ten of them, while losing at least two of their own soldiers.
That was followed by bombing sorties by Malaysian fighter jets and helicopters. While this was happening, President Aquino was seen in Mindanao, campaigning for his senatorial candidates. Perhaps, he should have stayed in Malacanang but did his indiscretion, if it was, amount to treason?
Our Filipino Muslim brothers are now under relentless attack by the Malaysian police and military. What would Casiño or Magsaysay or Gordon do if anyone of them were the President?
Would they order the Philippine Navy to dispatch our only available combat-ready sea craft to steam to Sabah and bombard Malaysian fortifications to ease the pressure on the embattled warriors of the Sultanate? Would they send elite special forces to reinforce the Sultan’s men? Would they demand an immediate ceasefire in Sabah and threaten Malaysia with dire consequences if it does not comply?
About the Sabah claim itself, what would a President Casiño or a President Gordon or a President Magsaysay do? Demand that the Malaysians return it to the sultan, or else…?
Should we be trying President Aquino for treason? Or should we be thanking the stars that he is our President and not some Casiño, Gordon or Magsaysay, anyone of whom could have brought us to the brink of war with a neighbor by his/her belligerence?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 08, 2013.