Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Philippines still undecided on Sabah claim

Malacañang said there is no decision yet on whether to pursue the country's claim to Sabah which is still being studied by a study group tasked by the President.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the government may be hiring private lawyers to represent the government only after a decision is made to pursue the claim.

"According to Secretary [Rene] Almendras, if we're going to elevate this before international courts then, necessarily-if necessary, we have to retain private lawyers for this. But, as of now, let me be clear: There are no private lawyers retained for the Sabah claim," Lacierda said.

Lacierda also said he believes the ongoing peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front will not be affected by the recent conflict in Sabah involving the followers of sultan of Sulu.

He said there are only two annexes pending in the talks, adding that the sultanate was consulted alongside with the talks. Malaysia is the talk's third party facilitator.

"We are very hopeful that it will be signed, it will be completed. But, as to the timetable, we will leave that with the respective panels," Lacierda said.

"The whole framework agreement together with the annexes has one purpose in mind: to bring about enduring peace in Mindanao. So this is much bigger than what we have-the current situation in Sabah right now."-ABS-CBN News (March 19, 2013)

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