Militants protest 'terrorist' tag on royal army
|Muslims march to Mendiola to call on the government to stop supporting Malaysian attacks on Filipinos in Sabah. Photo by Zyann Ambrosio, ABS-CBN News|
MANILA, Philippines -- After holding a rally at the Embassy of Malaysia in Makati City Tuesday, protesters including some members of the Muslim community marched from Morayta corner Recto towards Mendiola in Manila to slam Malaysian officials for calling the Filipino claimants of Sabah "terrorists".
The multi-sectoral alliance Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said: "Such statements by Malaysian authorities further insult our compatriots, where some were killed by the military assault of Malaysian authorities with consent from our own government."
The protesters also claimed that President Benigno Aquino III is equally accountable for the loss of lives in Sabah.
The Migrante party-list also condemned the ongoing violence in Sabah.
Around 30 people have been killed since clashes began last Friday in Lahad Datu, Sabah.
In a statement after Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario's meeting with his counterpart, Anifah Aman, the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Del Rosario vowed that the Philippine government will file criminal cases against those involved in the Lahad Datu and Semporna incidents "to the fullest extent of the law in the Philippines."
"Malaysia considers this group as terrorists following their atrocities and brutalities committed in the killing of Malaysia's security personnel, two in Lahad Datu and six in Semporna, Sabah," Anifah said.
"Secretary Rosario agreed that this group should be labeled as terrorists," Anifah added.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), however, later clarified in a statement that Del Rosario did not exactly label the sultan's followers as "terrorists."
"According to (Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Ed) Malaya who was present at the meeting, the report is out of context," the DFA said.
"In Semporna, there were alleged acts of terrorism. As reported by the Malaysian Foreign Minister, after the police forces were lured into an ambush and killed, their bodies were brutally mutilated and desecrated. If indeed these atrocities were committed as reported to him, the Secretary and the Foreign Minister both agreed that these were, at the very least, terroristic acts," the DFA added.