Kiram to gov't: Help us, don't sue us
Sultan to PNoy: Stop calling this 'foolhardy'
MANILA (UPDATED) -- Sultan Jamalul Kiram III on Thursday criticized President Benigno Aquino III and two Cabinet members for not helping them in their claim over Sabah.
In a statement read by his daughter Princess Jaycel, Kiram said Aquino seems to be downplaying their clan's claim to Sabah.
He added that instead of personally talking to him and helping them reclaim what he says is theirs, the President instead issued an order to his officials to determine what legal charges should be filed against him, his followers and other collaborators engaged in this "foolhardy act".
"Mr. President, the claim to Sabah is an important issue. Please stop belittling the issue by calling it 'foolhardy,'" Kiram said.
"Is it foolhardy to defend the patrimony of your nation? Is it foolhardy to fight for what is right? Is it foolhardy to sacrifice the lives of 235 people for the sake of the truth?" he added.
Aquino has said he will only engage Kiram in a dialogue after his followers return to the Philippines.
Kiram's followers have been holed up in Lahad Datu town since February 9 in a bid to claim the Malaysian territory. They are led by his brother, Crown Prince Datu Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram.
'Do not insult the Sultanate of Sulu'
The sultan criticized Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas for saying the government will not talk to them unless their followers return home.
Roxas earlier said, "Walang pamahalaan na papayag na under the gun, under duress, na ilalagay muna sa panganib ang buhay ng mamamayan... Parang hostage-taking ba, hinohostage ang buong pamahalaan, ang buong sambayanan."
"For Mar Roxas, is he now the spokesperson for Malaysia stating that Malaysia will not talk to us? Is it hard for the Philippines and Malaysia to sit down and talk to us and settle this amicably?" Kiram asked.
Kiram also hit Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for allegedly insulting the Kiram clan.
De Lima earlier said the DOJ is confirming the identities of the financial supporters of the Sultanate of Sulu involved in its foray in Sabah.
Addressing De Lima, Kiram said, "Please do not insult the sacrifice of the Sultanate of Sulu by saying kaya kaming sulsulan."
On Thursday, De Lima said a DOJ and DILG fact-finding team is studying what charges to slap Kiram's group for their continued defiance of government's call for them to peacefully return to the Philippines.
Kiram, his brother and their supporters could be charged with violating Article 118 (inciting to war or giving motives for reprisals), illegal possession of firearms, violations of the election gun ban, illegal assembly, among others, the DOJ chief said. -- With reports from Dexter Ganibe, dzMM; Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News; With ANC