MANILA – Supporters of the sultanate of Sulu trooped to the residence of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III in Taguig on Friday after reports of the assault in Sabah surfaced.
One of them was Pastor Boy Saycon, a close friend of the Kirams, who urged the Malaysian government to stop the violence against Kiram's followers in Sabah.
But what is Saycon’s role in Sabah’s claim?
According to Abraham Idjirani, the spokesman of the Sulu sultan, Saycon is merely acting as a consultant.
“Ang role ni Boy Saycon, he is advising kung ano ang steps na gagawin para ma-resolve ang issue. Wala siyang role, maliban lang na siya ay parang kapatid na ng sultan of Sulu, matagal na siyang kaibigan, about 15 years ago,” Idjirani told dzMM.
Saycon, the secretary general of the Council on Philippine Affairs (COPA), is known to have close ties with President Benigno Aquino’s relatives, his uncle Jose "Peping" Cojuangco and aunt Margarita "Tingting" Cojuangco.
Cojuangco is one of the founding members of COPA.
A report from The Philippine Star last week said the stand-off in Sabah was meant to sabotage the Aquino administration's peace efforts, and linked the names of Cojuangco, Tingting, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chieftain Nur Misuari, and former national security adviser Norberto Gonzales.
Tingting denies sabotage
Tingting, who's running for senator under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), vehemently denied the allegations.
"Gusto nila mag-away kami ni Noynoy, but there is no source, name it…they can never make our family fight,” she earlier said.
Tingting, who has been active in the peace efforts in Mindanao, had expressed her support for Kiram's claim on Sabah.
Meanwhile, unidentified sources of the Inquirer, “from the diplomatic and defense establishments” alleged that there are 3 groups riding on Kiram’s claim for their own interests.
According to one of the sources, one group is pushing for the claim for financial reasons, another is a Malaysian political opposition, and another is anti-Aquino administration.
The source said the anti-Aquino group is composed of “all those who do not like PNoy.”
The source added that the group aims to disrupt the peace process and discredit the gains made by the Aquino administration.
Stand-off ends in violence
The stand-off ended in violence on Friday, with 10 of Kiram’s men killed and 4 others wounded.
Idjirani said Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram confirmed that 10 of his men were killed while 4 others were wounded in the shooting incident.
Two Malaysian policemen were also killed in the shooting.