ABS-CBNnews.com | 02/17/2013 1:57 PM
MANILA -- Malacanang would not comment whether it will actively pursue the Philippines’ claim over Sabah amid a continuing standoff between Malaysian forces and a group of Filipinos claiming to be followers and guards of the Sultanate of Sulu.
Former Senate President and Ambassador to the United States Ernesto Maceda, however, urged the government to once and for all be active on the matter. He said the claim should already be brought to the United Nations.
"It has been neglected and sleeping for a long time," Maceda said. "It's time to act to regain what is rightfully ours."
In an interview with radio dzRB, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte would also not say whether an emissary from Malacanang would be sent to help in pacifying the situation.
“At this point, we will defer comment…The [Department of Foreign Affairs] will give us updates on Sabah, if they deem it necessary],” she said.
The group of at least 200 Filipinos landed by boat near the Borneo town of Lahad Datu in Malaysia's Sabah state on Tuesday.
Malacanang already 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.
"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," Maceda explained. "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."