Mar speaking for Malaysia, says sultan's wife
MANILA – Fatima Kiram, wife of Suu Sultan Jamalaul Kiram III, on Friday accused Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II of siding with Malaysia in the Sabah standoff.
Fatima lamented Roxas's recent statement that Malaysia had been very patient in dealing with the sultanate's followers, who have been holed up in Sabah for over two weeks now to assert their ownership of the territory.
"Is he the spokesperson of Malaysia to the extent of sacrificing the lives of our 10 Tausug warriors? I don't know. I really don't know if he is spokesperson, speaking in behalf of Malaysia," she said at a press conference.
"Nasaan na ang pagka-patriotic o pagka-Pilipino? Kapag ang mga kapatid natin ay nasaktan sa ibang lugar, bakit natin ipapagtanggol ang mga kalaban natin?"
Fatima issued this statement following a gunfight between the Malaysian forces and the sultan's followers, led by crown prince Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram. The gunfight claimed at least 10 lives, according to the sultanate's spokesman Abraham Idjirani, citing information he gathered from the crown prince.
ABS-CBN News has yet to verify the report.
Out of frustration, Fatima blurted: "Is he anti-Muslim? I think he is, I can say that he is anti-Muslim!"
Roxas, in a subsequent interview with radio dzMM, said he will not yet comment on Fatima's tirades.
"Well, baka 'di ko na muna papatulan dahil 'di ko naman nadinig. Ang punto lang dito, patuloy na ang pamahalaan ay buong-buo na sinisikap gawin ang lahat para malutas ang sitwasyon na ito," he said.
Roxas also said he has not yet received any confirmation that 10 people indeed died during the gunfight on Friday morning, the first major one to occur since the sultanate's followers arrived in Sabah last February 12.
"Pinapa-verify natin ang reports. Of course nababahala tayo. Sinisugurado nating mananatiling ligatas ang mga kababayan doon. Iyan ang dailan kung bakit ginagawa ang lahat at nananawagan ang pamahalaan natin sa lahat ng panig na manatiling marahan at hindi hayaan ang dumating pa sa karasahan ang sitwasyong ito," Roxas said.