Unearthed court documents show Kirams' rights over Sabah
MANILA - Several court orders from the Jolo Regional Trial Court in 2011 have allowed the heirs of the heirs of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram II to administer Sabah, evidence which may help the Philippines' claim over the disputed land.
ABS-CBNnews.com obtained six of the orders of Branch 3 Presiding Judge Betlee-Ian J. Barraquias on June 17, 2011 for several petitioners to become administrators of the intestate estate of the heirs of Kiram.
For the intestate estate of Sultan Esmail Kiram, the letter of administration was given to his son Sultan Fuad Kiram.
For the intestate estate of Dayang-Dayang Hadji Piandao Kiram, the letter of administration was given to granddaughter Dayang-Dayang Putri Taj-Mahal Kiram Tarsum Nuqui.
For the intestate estate of Mora Napsa, the letter of administration was given to granddaughter Hja Sitti Ayesha Sampang.
For the intestate estate of Sitti Putli Jahara Kiram, the letter of administration was given to granddaughter Sitti Jenny K.A. Sampang.
For the intestate estate of Sitti Mariam Kiram, the letter of administration was given to grandniece Princess Permaisuli Kiram-Guerzon.
For the intestate estate of Sultan Punjungan Kiram, the letter of administration was given to granddaughter Dayang-Dayang Sheramar Kiram. The latter is the sister of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, whose followers landed in Sabah last February 12 to assert their claim against Malaysia.
Legal experts said that the orders, in effect, allow the administrators to step into the shoes of the original sultan. The rights of the sultan over Sabah now means the rights of the administrators.
Intestate estate means there was no legally valid will prior to the death of the owner. Nonetheless, the court documents provid that “there being no opposition from any quarter, despite due notice, the same amply satisfies this court that [the petitioners]…[are] the most competent [persons] to administer the intestate estate of the deceased…”
The heirs of the original sultan, Kiram II, were those named in the 1939 Macaskie judgment. The high court of North Borneo (Sabah) gave credence to the cession of the rights and power of the Sultan in North Borneo to the Sultan of Sulu. This was after the latter helped quell a rebellion against the sultan of Brunei.
In a phone interview, Abraham Idjirani, spokesperson for the Sulu sultanate, said the administrators will stand as the sultanate’s witnesses once the Philippines asserts its proprietary claim over Sabah.
The court documents also show that the deceased heirs have been receiving rental money for Sabah, the payment of which remains unrecognized by the Philippine government, Idjirani said.
He explained that the letters of administration, which emerged as a consequence of the 1939 decision, will be used for “future cases” – including a filing of claim before the United Nations.
Political analysts earlier said the standoff, which has resulted in a bloodbath, can be resolved before a world forum. Some have chastised the reluctance of the Aquino administration to resolve the Sabah claim.
Tawi-Tawi governor Al Tillah was earlier quoted as saying: “The Sabah crisis is rooted historically in the just struggle of the sultanate through justice and the lofty ideals of the Muslim Filipinos. Any opinion to the contrary is null and void.”
Idjirani also noted that a lot of statements coming from the Aquino government are “unilateral declarations” which do not give due recognition to the sultanate of Sulu.