For Senator Miriam Santiago, President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is doing the right thing when it comes to the Sabah conflict.
This, as she commended the Aquino administration in handling the issue on Sabah.
“It is very hard for someone to act like a hero to an emotional crowd than to be a statesman to an impatient one,” she said.
However she advises the president about the urgency of implementing the principle of diplomatic protection over Filipino nationals.
“International law prohibits the use of force. But there is an unwritten exception which allows states to protect or rescue their nationals by means of armed force in the territory of another state,” she explains.
“However, this exception should not be invoked unless the Philippines has to carry out rescue operations,” she clarifies.
The Malaysian government has allowed the entry of three teams from the Philippine government to get in touch with Filipino civilians who may have been affected by the armed conflict in Sabah.
Meanwhile, Santiago also said a fact-finding investigation may not be enough to uncover the truth behind conflicting reports on human rights abuses against civilians caught in the armed conflict in Sabah.
Santiago clarifies both nations need to agree on a probe, which must be conducted by an objective party that is respected in Philippine and Malaysian communities.
“Under international law, impartial fact-finding facilitates peaceful settlement of disputes, particularly settlement by negotiation, mediation, good offices or conciliations,” Santiago said in her speech.
She explains the dispute over Sabah has evolved into a complicated situation, which requires detailed knowledge of relevant facts before the United Nations can come in for its resolution.
This came after Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected media reports that Filipino Muslims were “treated like animals” as the Malaysian government launched offensives against Filipino claimants in Sabah.
A judge-in-waiting at the International Criminal Court, the senator explains Malaysia risks itself of being considered a “rogue state” should it continue to ignore calls to investigate human rights violations.
The legal expert explains this has to be done in order for Malaysia to justify its military action against some 200 followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, who wants to get Sabah back from Malaysia.
“The proportion between the number of Malaysian security forces deployed and the number of Kiram’s followers they want to flush out is questionable,” she added.
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