Filipinos involved in Sabah row to be deported - Palace

Posted at 02/18/2013 3:43 PM | Updated as of 02/18/2013 7:28 PM

MANILA - Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Filipinos who entered Sabah last week will be deported.

In a press conference, Valte denied rumors that President Benigno Aquino III met with Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram today nor has the Palace sent any emissary to set up a meeting between the two leaders.

Valte refused to give any further comment about the Sabah incident, given its sensitive nature.

"The incident is very sensitive and, as such, we are withholding comment and deferring to the DFA just to apprise the public on any developments that they may deem appropriate,” she said.

She said it is only important to note that the Filipinos there are safe.

A group of at least 200 Filipinos, some of whom are armed, landed by boat near the Borneo town of Lahad Datu in Malaysia's Sabah state on Tuesday.

The Filipinos, claiming to be followers and guards of the Sultanate of Sulu, is currently in a standoff with Malaysian forces.

Malacanang, over the weekend, called for a peaceful resolution to the standoff.

“The primary concern now is their safety and to resolve the incident peacefully," Valte said on Saturday.

Some stakeholders have said the Philippines should pursue anew its claim over Sabah.

"The people of the Sultanate of Sulu have a legitimate claim to Sabah considering that the British and Malaysian governments used to pay rentals for Sabah to the Sultan of Sulu," former Senate President Ernesto Maceda earlier said.

"Renewed government effort is the only way to stop the followers of the Sultan of Sulu from taking up arms and invading Sabah to press their claim," the former lawmaker said. – with reports from Jing Castaneda, ABS-CBN News