MALACANANG on Tuesday assured the heirs of the Sulu Sultanate that President Benigno Aquino III was serious in his order to study the country's claim over Sabah.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. made the remarks after Sulu Sultanate spokesman Abraham Idjirani accused the government that the President's order to study the issue was just a "moro-moro."

"Sa pagkaalam ko po ay pinag-aaralan 'yan ng puspusan ng Department of Justice (DOJ). Si Secretary Leila de Lima ang point person hinggil diyan," he said in a press briefing.

Coloma said that the DOJ has been studying voluminous documents and some of them were even old.

"Pero ginagawa ng Department of Justice iyong ipinag-utos sa kanila na pag-aaral at siniseryoso nila ito dahil mahalagang usapin ito para sa ating bansa," he added.

Aquino ordered last year the DOJ and other concerned government agencies to study the country's claim over Sabah, believed to be rich in oil and minerals.

The directive came after more than 250 followers of late Sultan Jamalul Kiram III sailed to Lahad Datu in Sabah to reclaim the area, which is now a Malaysian state.

Skirmishes with Malaysian authorities ensued resulting to the deaths of dozens of people, mostly Kiram's men. (SDR/Sunnex)