Guevarra: Sabah issue under deep study

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra assured the public over the weekend that the team he created to look into an international arbitral award in favor of the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu is deeply studying the matter.

The team is studying legal and constitutional implications of the $14.92 billion award of a French arbitration court to the descendants of the last Sulu Sultan, Guevarra said.

“None as of yet,” Guevarra told Daily Tribune. “But the OSG team is very deep in its study of the arbitral award in favor of the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu in relation to the Philippine claim over Sabah.”

“I will let you know if has already ripened,” he added. “We’ve started collating reference materials for our study, but this task will require a lot of manhours to complete.”

Lawyers of the Sulu royal family have already served notice to seize $2 billion worth of assets of Malaysia abroad, including those of state-owned oil company Petronas, in line with the award.

Malacañang, on the other hand, has distanced itself from the claims of the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu saying it does not see it as a matter impacting national sovereignty at the moment.

No articulation

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles has said she has yet to get a policy direction from President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on the Sabah issue.

“The President’s articulation of his (State of the Nation Address) statement about not giving up a square inch of territory will have to be reduced into writing and into specifics,” she said.

“We will announce this to you if they are in any way related to the Sabah claim. At the moment, there is no articulation. So we will have to wait,” Angeles said.

The award stemmed from the agreement made by the Sultan of Sulu with a British trading company in 1878 for the exploitation of resources in Sabah in Borneo, which is currently under Malaysian control.

Malaysia took over the regular payment to the heirs of Sabah after its independence from British rule. But in 2013, it decided to stop the payments altogether.

The Malaysian government offered to resume the payments in 2019, but the offer was rejected by the heirs, who wanted to renegotiate the deal after fuel and oil resources were discovered in Sabah.

Initially, the heirs sought arbitration in Spain, but it was later transferred to French courts instead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *