MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. stood pat on his statement about the Philippines' claim to Sabah after the Malaysian government summoned the Philippine Ambassador in Kuala Lumpur to explain Locsin’s tweet that "Sabah is not in Malaysia."
The country's top diplomat said the Philippines will continue to assert its rights in Sabah as well as in the West Philippine Sea and that the Philippines will never abandon its claim.
"We have and continue to assert our rights in the Spratlys/WPS. I am doing that with regard to Sabah. There have been repeated attempts to sell that claim but no Philippine president has succumbed. You're really stupid,” Locsin said on Twitter, addressing a netizen.
"He was already summoned. It was about to happen. They are always trying to sneak in an attempt to implicitly abandon our claim. But I warned our diplomats. Never," he added in another tweet.
Addressing Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hishammuddin Hussein, Locsin revealed that Malaysia tried to derail the arbitral award that the Philippines won in the Hague which ruled in favor of the Philippines’ maritime entitlements and invalidated China’s sweeping claim over the South China Sea.
“You summoned our ambassador for a historically factual statement I made: that Malaysia tried to derail the Arbitral Award. This was reported to us by our diplomats on the scene and our German lawyer. None may share our Hague victory who worked against it,” Locsin said.
In a tweet Wednesday night, Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hishammuddin Hussein dubbed Locsin’s statement on Sabah as “irresponsible” and that it “affects bilateral ties.”
“This is an irresponsible statement that affects bilateral ties. @MalaysiaMFA will summon the Philippines Ambassador on Monday to explain. Sabah is, and will always be, part of Malaysia,” Hussein said in his tweet.
The current Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia is former DFA spokesperson Charles Jose.
Last Monday, Locsin called out the United States Embassy in the Philippines for calling Sabah as part of Malaysia.
"Sabah is not in Malaysia if you want to have anything to do with the Philippines,” Locsin said in a tweet.
Locsin was reacting to a tweet of the Embassy on USAID’s donation of hygiene kits for Filipino repatriates who returned from Sabah and who arrived in Zamboanga City and Bongao, Tawi Tawi.
“USAID donated 500 hygiene kits to the @dswdserves Region IX for the 395 returning Filipino repatriates from Sabah, Malaysia who arrived in Zamboanga City and Bongao, Tawi Tawi,” it said.
Locsin urged the Embassy to edit the announcement if it knows “what's good for you.“
"You better edit that announcement if you know what's good for you," he said.
The US Embassy has not responded to a request for comment nor has it edited its tweet.
In 1968, Republic Act 5446 or the law on Philippine baselines included "the territory of Sabah, situated in North Borneo, over which the Republic of the Philippines has acquired dominion and sovereignty." It was amended in 2009, but a Supreme Court decision said Republic 9522 or Baselines Law still did not relinquish the Philippine claim to Sabah, a claim Malaysia has rejected.