Marcos Jr. admin yet to declare stance on Sabah claim, Palace says

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 02 2022 06:57 PM | Updated as of Aug 09 2022 07:21 PM

MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has yet to articulate his position on the country's claim to Sabah, Malacañang said on Tuesday. 

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles issued the statement after being asked whether Marcos' stance on "not giving up a square inch" of the country's territory applies to Sabah, which is now a Malaysian state. 

"The President’s articulation of his statement about not giving up a square inch of territory will have to be reduced into writing and into specifics after which we will announce these to you if they are in anyway related to the Sabah claim," Cruz-Angeles told reporters. 

"At the moment wala pa pong articulation so we have to wait," she added.

A French Arbitral court earlier ordered the Malaysian government to pay the heirs of the Sulu sultanate $14 billion for its land lease violation dating back to 1878.

Malaysia has refused to recognize the ruling.

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The Philippines lays claim over Sabah, citing a land lease agreement in 1878 between the Sultanate of Sulu and the British North Borneo Chartered Co.

Malaysia has governed Sabah while the Philippines continues to assert its claim. 

WHAT MARCOSES, HARRY ROQUE SAY

Former presidential spokesman Harry Roque, Marcos' private counsel, has praised the French court's decision against Malaysia, saying it "strengthens" the Philippines' claim to Sabah.

"The Philippines has never surrendered its claim to the territory," said Roque in a Facebook post in July.

"I advise our President to clarify whether the country will actively pursue this claim or allow the Sultanate heirs to negotiate privately with the Malaysian government," he added. 

Roque said in 2020 that Manila remains firm in its claim on the territory based on an agreement with the Sultanate of Sulu. 

Malaysia had denied that the Philippines has a claim on Sabah. 

In March 2013, Marcos Jr. said Sabah belongs to the Philippines. 

"We, as a republic, have a claim over Sabah since the 1960's, we have historical claim over Sabah and that's a fact," Marcos, then a senator, said in a press release. 

"The Sultan of Sulu and his people are Filipino citizens and, by virtue of that fact, they deserve protection from the government of the Philippines... it's the responsibility of the government to protect its citizens," he added.

His father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Sr., in September 1968 said the Philippines would pursue any peaceful means to stake its claims to Sabah and bring the issue to the International Court of Justice. 

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