Surveys PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 11:53

Sound Snipings

BY Jimmy Cabato

Today’s piece may again be a brief one. Just keep watch. Am finding trouble with USB in use. Can’t easily download contents of researched work. In any case, whatever can be retrieved or remembered will be the meat of our points today.

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11 of 27 Filipinos jailed in connection with the February 2013 bloody standoff in Lahad Datu town in eastern Sabah state that caused the death of at least 72 persons have been cleared.

This was reported by the Philippine Embassy in  Kuala Lumpur, saying the High Court of Kota Kinabalu issued a ruling on Friday acquitting the Filipinos who were accused of taking part in an attempt to reclaim the Sultanate of Sulu’s assertion of a territory in eastern Sabah.

Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, one of the claimants to the throne of the Sultanate of Sulu, was said to have sent more than 200 gunmen to lay siege in Lahad Datu.

Judge Stephen Chung penned that the court found no prima facie evidence against the 11 and the charges against them dropped.

On the other hand, prima facie evidence were found on the other 16 Filipinos. The court ordered them to present, through their legal counsel, evidence in their defense. The defense then will have the opportunity to refute the prosecution’s proof.

The decision on the 17 Filipinos made by the court is only temporary, a Philippine embassy olfficial reported. Final judgment of their culpability, if any, will be rendered after the defense has completed its presentation of evidence, which may begin later this month.

The embassy said all 27 accused Filipinos were assisted and represented before and during the trial by a highly-qualified Malaysian lawyer, Datuk N. Sivananthan, whose services were arranged by the embassy and paid for by the Philippine government. An Embassy representative was present at Friday’s hearing.

It will be recalled on February 11, 2013, some 200 mostly armed men calling themselves “Royal Security Forces of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo” landed in Lahad Datu from Simunul, Tawi-Tawi, the Philippines’ southernmost province, saying they were sent by Sultan Kiram to claim Sabah as belonging to the Sulu Sultanate.

A standoff between Malaysian security forces and the armed men persisted for weeks as negotiations were carried for the attackers to leave peacefully. After failure to do so with unmet deadlines, the Malaysian security forces attacked and defeated Kiram’s loyalists. The firefight left  72 people dead, counting 56 of the loyalists, 6 Malaysian civilians and 10 Malaysian soldiers.

Kiram was later reported to have said, he was motivated to send his people to Sabah after the Philippine government left them out of the framework agreement signed in October, which only catered to the interest of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

On February 26, President Benigno Aquino III tried to persuade Kiram to order his loyalists to leave Lahad Datu as they were risking the lives of thousands of Filipinos living and working in Sabah. The president even threatened to arrest him, but Kiram stayed put and held fort, averring he was ready to be jailed if the Philippine government filed a case against him and the members of his family.

The faceoff lasted up to March, 2013 when Malaysian security forces attacked and overpowered Jamalul’s  loyalists, killing some of them and arresting the rest.

Nine months after the bloody Sabah siege, 75-year-old sultan died of multiple organ failure .

Malaysia, which took over Sabah in 1963, brokered the peace talks between the Philippine government and the MILF.

History shows, the sultanate acquired Sabah as a prize for helping the Sultan of Brunei against his enemies.

And according to the sultanate, it did not relinquish its ownership over Sabah and had only leased the territory to a British North Borneo Company starting in 1878.

The lease continued until the independence and formation of the Malaysian federation in 1963, which included Sabah as part of its territory.

Because of Sabah’s inclusion, the Philippine government during the presidency of Diosdado Macapagal, broke diplomatic relations with Malaysia.

It was during Macapagal’s term when then reigning Sultan of Sulu, Muhammad Esmail E. Kiram I, ceded to the Philippine government the full sovereignty, title, and dominion of Sabah to the Republic of the Philippines. This gave the Philippine government the full authority to pursue its claim to Sabah in international courts.

But starting in 1989, succeeding administrations put the Sabah claim on the back burner and instead decided to pursue economic and security relations with Malaysia.

Up to now, the heirs of the sultanate receive rental money for Sabah from the Malaysian government.

Sabah’s total land area is 7.36 million hectares or almost one-fourth of the Philippines, which is 30 million hectares.

The Malaysian government pays the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu, 5,300 Malaysian ringgit (P70,000).

Kiram had said the rent they receive only proves that the sultanate owns Sabah. (With DZT reports)

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So, it’s not only Yen Macabenta and this keyboardist who negatively view the line of arguments of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno kin the disqualification (dq) case of presidential candidate Grace Poe Llamanzares.

So does ex-Sen. Kit Tatad, writing that Sereno’s performance is unusual during the Oral Arguments before the Supreme Court on the dq case of Poe.

He said, some legal practitioners have described her stand as apparently so scandalized, prompting one to ask him, a non-lawyer, if in his judgment, she has not qualified herself for impeachment.

And knowing his limitations and competence to answer the question, he simply said, “... my inability to do so does not alter the fact that it has been asked; between now and after the next President assumes office on June 30, some people might want to answer it competently.”

No matter how vague Tatad had put it, the presumption is that he meant big YES.

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So, the report we read and re-echoed here yesterday as regard the latest Pulse Asia survey was erroneous. Another TMT columnist, Roberto Tiglao has this analysis. - VP Jojo Binay and Sen. Grace Poe are statistically tied at No. 1., with 32 and 33 percent, respectively. They were followed by Rodrigo Duterte with 16 percent and Mar Roxas with 13 percent.    Therefore, that leaves the latter two at 3rd and places, respectively.

And accordingly, the rise of Poe in voter-preference was merely due to the fact that she was continually in the news because of the dq cases in the Supreme (SC), which therefore improved her name recall.

And he said, he could not fathom how Binay’s ratings be made to appear to have plunged, while Roxas has inched upward.

Tiglao ventured to say, only through a clever manipulation of samples in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, as against that in Metro Manila, could such ranking be reached.

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And this next item may even buttress that line of thinking on the survey results.

The top man of Pulse even offered a ready justification for the rise in Poe’s Asia increase in ranking

Ronald Holmes, Pulse Asia president attributes the Poe rise to her latest political advertisements that stress she is still a contender for president, saying it had a positive impact on her campaign.

Holmes adds, Poe’s camp appears to be following a good strategy to counter the negative effects of the dq cases filed against her.

“The public may have taken (her messaging) as an indication that she intends to win this race,” Holmes said in a phone interview yesterday.

The latest figures showed her once again overtaking opposition candidate Vice President JejomarBinay, whose ratings dropped to 23 percent from last month’s 33 percent, and hers upped also by 10.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is trailing in fifth place with an unchanged four percent. (PS-sourced)

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Therefore, it appearing that the pollsters tended to favor Poe, the same scheme must have also been maneuvered in the vice presidential race, as in the case of her running mate, Chiz Escudero.

Whereas, in the previous survey, Sen. Bongbong Marcos scored the highest leap in percentage increase, this time he was pictured to have slipped a bit, with Escudero creeping upward.

Surveys truly can be manipulated.

Not really as lengthy as in previous days, today’s contribution is nor really that brief. And the most attractive items dissected.