Malaysia’s role should be explained


Some readers and friends have written and called to say that my column on the Trojan horse (“BBL is a Trojan Horse”, Times, 18 April 2015) did not cover the entire problem. I failed to discuss Malaysia’s self-serving role in brokering the Mindanao peace negotiations and its often undisguised interference in Philippine affairs. Malaysia could be, in fact, the real creator and beneficiary of the Trojan horse.

If any party or group besides the MILF has benefited greatly from the Mindanao peace process, and stands to benefit some more from the BBL, it is Malaysia.

Malaysia is profiting because President Aquino, on his own recognizance, has frozen the Philippine claim to Sabah, and treated with indifference efforts of the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu to recover Sabah from Malaysia and secure fair compensation for their historic claim.

Many lawmakers, as well as journalists, have long felt that unseen forces and powers are deeply involved in the spiral of events in Mindanao and Sulu. Some, especially the Left, have focused on the possible entanglement of the US in developments there.

Yet inexplicably, most have avoided asking disquieting questions about Malaysia’s hand in the outbreak and persistence of the secessionist rebellion in the South.

Obsession with the US role had the effect of shielding from scrutiny Malaysia’s far more strategic involvement.

Malaysia: eminence grise in Mindanao
That oversight is due for correction.

At the House of Representatives, partylist congressman Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz of Abakada has filed a resolution calling for an inquiry by the committees on foreign affairs and national security into a reported exchange of notes between the Philippine and Malaysian governments concerning Sabah and statements by senior Malaysian officials that openly interfere in our internal affairs.

The inquiry, if it happens, will surely delve as well into Malaysia’s suspected role in the Mindanao peace process.

By handing Malaysia the role of peace broker and mediator in the negotiations between the Philippine government and the MILF, the Aquino government made it appear that our ASEAN neighbor is solicitous for our national interest. It enabled Malaysia to steer the talks and help shape the resulting agreements in such a way that Malaysia’s interests in Sabah would always be protected.

To state matters bluntly, Malaysia is the eminence grise (power behind the scenes) in the Mindanao peace process. Our Helen of Troy, Ferrer and Deles, had no idea what they were dealing with. Even with the Mamasapano incident, Malaysia continued to hold sway in the direction of events. It heads the International Monitoring Team (IMT) that is expected to render its own report on the incident, which many fear will lay blame on the SAF commandos for the tragedy.

Not surprisingly, it’s the younger generations (generations X and Y), who are most vocal about their misgivings about Malaysia. Why, they ask me, is Malaysia not being told off by our government? Why do we find Malaysia’s hand everywhere in the unfortunate events in Mindanao – to wit:

1. Marwan, the high-value target of Exodus, was Malaysian, and he had been living among our Muslim communities for 10 years, mounting countless bombing attacks and training local terrorists. Was he in the payroll of the Malaysian government? Was his mission to destabilize Mindanao?

2. The secessionist rebellion launched by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the 60s and 70s during the previous century was funded covertly by Malaysia. The first MNLF fighters and leaders were trained in that country by British and Malaysian security forces.

3.When the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) broke away from the MNLF and staged its own secessionist rebellion following the 1996 peace agreements, Malaysia again served as its main sponsor and financier.

Malaysia and Indonesia as mediators     
The unfriendly acts of Malaysia toward the Philippines and the naivete of the 2011-2015 Philippine peace panel stand in relief when we compare the 1992-96 peace talks and the 2011-2015 peace talks.

In the earlier negotiations, Indonesia served as the mediator as chair of the ministerial committee of the six of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The talks enjoyed the full support of the Islamic body.

The two sides met in Tripoli, Jakarta and in the Philippines. The talks culminated in the signing of the GRP-MNLF final agreement on 2 September 1996 in Malacañang.

President Fidel V. Ramos has recounted in detail the story of the 1992-96 GRP-MNLF peace negotiations in the book, Break Not the Peace (Friends of Steady Eddie, 1996).

He explained how he conducted consultations to come up with a policy and guidelines for the GRP panel in the formal negotiations. Preparations included the drafting of a manual of negotiations.

In the peace talks during the Benigno Aquino 3rd presidency, Malaysia became the chief mediator in the GRP-MILF talks. Most of the talks took place in Malaysia under Malaysian auspices. The OIC was inexplicably removed as sponsor of the peace negotiations.

The elimination of OIC participation became inevitable because President Aquino, the MILF and Malaysia had reached an understanding even before the negotiations started that the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), a key product of the 1996 peace accords, would be abolished, and replaced by a new body to be headed by the MILF.

For the new talks, President Aquino did not consult with anyone before embarking on negotiations with the MILF. He did not convene the National Security Council to get some advice or guidance. He rushed to an unprecedented meeting with MILF chair Murad Ibrahim in Tokyo, that made plain his keen interest in concluding a peace agreement.

No effort was undertaken to develop a comprehensive Philippine government position and policy for the negotiations.

The talks were to be conducted like a whirlwind, because the Philippine side was in a hurry. They wanted to reach a final peace agreement in time for nominations to the Nobel Peace Prize before Aquino’s term runs out in 2016. Aquino’s peace adviser and peace negotiators had sold the president on the idea that he could win the Nobel peace prize if he successfully concluded peace with the MILF.

By taking shortcuts, they reached a comprehensive peace agreement in March 2014.

But there were glaring flaws in the rush-rush handiwork. Under the final agreement, the Aquino government committed to the passage of a Bangsamoro Basic law, that would significantly create a sub-state for the MILF.

Criticisms of the peace agreement and proposed BBL have mounted over the past year. The Nobel fantasy has had to be abandoned.

President Aquino was banking on a complaisant House and Senate to pass the BBL, because it had earlier proved pliant in impeaching a sitting chief justice of the Supreme Court.

A legacy of death and failure
But then on the early morning of January 25, 2015, in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, several units of the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police launched Operation Exodus to capture or kill two high-value targets and terrorists.

The strikers came under heavy fire from forces of the MILF and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters during the operation.

Before the day was over, 44 SAF commandos lay dead. And most, autopsy showed, were killed while defenseless.

The resulting outcry and the difficulty in reaching closure have created a crisis of survival for President Aquino.

Instead of peace in Mindanao crowning his legacy and a Nobel prize as his reward, Aquino will leave behind a saga of death and failure.


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  1. Dear My Fellow Skeptical Neighbours,

    You’re all ought to read this article titled “Malaysia: Unsung Hero of the Philippine Peace Process” written by your fellow countryman (i assumed) at this link –

    With all the negativity in your thoughts, harbouring prejudice without looking at all the events or important points of history within context, all of you will not be helping with the peace process. The words, opinion uttered by each of you conciously or not, implied that you’d like to remain in this mess for foreseeable future, which is sad & tragic.

  2. Alejo Rosete on

    The Filipinos elected an IDIOT President.

    All we have to do is to yank him out of Malacanang bodily
    and dump him in the MILF Territory his own “Hacienda Luisita” in Mindanao.
    where the Philippine Governor cannot arrest him because that is the
    BBL territory.

  3. eltee mulawin on

    >>>Filipino of the Philippines !!!! The first and foremost issue in CAB-BBL to be clarified by the congress and senate is….WHO AND WHAT THE REAL NATIONALITY OF THE SIGNATORIES FROM MILF GROUP IN THIS CAB-BBL ??

  4. And I thought that only the US had lunatic fringe claiming that their legally elected president was a Commie, Kenyan Muslim, etc. etc. Conspiracy theorists, I’ve found a new center of made up facts and chismas for you to build upon. Joy to the world!

  5. Umbra Magister on

    I have no doubt and agree that their was a secret destabilization plan by the malaysian government against the Philippine government. Terrorizing the mindanao by malaysian expert in bomb making plus the pyramiding scam of Amalilio – a malaysian national that lost billion of pesos from people of Mindanao particularly in Zamboanga del Sur. And where Amalilio is? – he is now in the hands of Malaysian government and denied the turn-over of the suspect to the Philippines. Financing this MNLF, MILF, BIFF and so do with other secessionist groups to engaged more chaos in Mindanao.

  6. Daniel B. Laurente on

    One has to verify the exploits of Marwan, the Malaysian. From the day one to his last breath. who created him to be a terrorist. There must be a real interesting story about this person that everyone must know.

  7. I do not know how Aquino could have chosen the MILF to deal with. It does not make any sense to talk with a terrorist group supported by foreign parties. So there must be a secret deal that we cannot see. All that is evident is the BBL is not a peace document. Junk the BBL and all supporting documents

    • vg, i read somewhere that the aquinos are best friends with the the sultan of jahore, malaysia. ninoy, based on what i read before, went to malaysia to talk with the powers that be in malaysia before he went back to the phil. where he was assassinated. apparently, sabah was the main topic. do not forget that ninoy exposed the plan of makoy to infiltrate sabah so we can get it back.

  8. why is there no indignation rally at the malaysian embassy? marwan is a malaysian. there should have been a note verbale from DFA at the very least, or the malaysian ambassador should have been summoned by malacanang. pero wala, alams na.

  9. Rogelio A. Feir on

    I maintain that the Mamasapano Incident was a Divine Intervention. It jolted us to be aware of hidden agendas.

  10. I predict that the bansomoro territory will become an expanded MILF terror-camp and a training hub for asia
    The rule of law will become one of fear.
    Human rights violations will escalate.
    The chief minister will be omnipotent – thanks to a carefully crafted BBL
    Corruption and a money frenzy will mean little improvement for the lives of the majority
    Impunity and inequality will give rise to oppression and abuses
    The minority will control with guns and goons, under a legalised dictatorship.
    Filipinos (christians etc) will be pushed or driven out
    The philippine government will stay well clear of the fallout and turn a blind eye
    The BBL itself will be a meaningless and toothless document once the ‘Rubicon has been crossed’
    CDO will be renamed terrortown

    It is all a bit like putting a fox in charge of the chicken coop.

    Legitimising an islamic state and enabling it to arm itself will only lead to more violence. It is in their dna, as stupidity is in pnoy aquino’s. He is also being played like a fool by the chinese. The village idiot from tarlac simply doesn’t understand a world beyond game consoles and the shooting range.

    • I agree 100 pct. The whole ‘peace process’ is beyond the comprehension of the village idiot from Tarlac. He is should just have devoted his time on the shooting range and game consoles.

  11. Pardons!!! Will it be surprising if next month or in July, there will be Malakanyang inside-story about Noynoy preparing to also leave behind a number of pardons? Who knows…. maybe Datucan Abas Iqbal gets pardoned for the Davao airport bombing while MILF commanders close to Murad gets pardoned for Mamapasano SAF murders.

  12. “Never for a single moment did we talk about [the Sabah claim].
    With Malaysia as facilitator, it is only practical for us not to bring that up or include Sabah in our proposed homeland. We are silent on the issue. We never said it belongs to the Bangsamoro people,
    just as we never said it does not belong to us. It is a nonissue for us at this point,”
    Mohagher Iqbal

    Before he sold out, Manolo quezon said that MILF see their territory extending to all mindanao, palawan, and spratly islands and that secession is the obvious and inevitable conclusion, with Malaysia and MILF being natural partners. Now that he is paid by aquino he keeps quiet.

    Malaysia will have achieved its goal of a geo-political arc of influence stretching from thailand to davao, and captured sabah into the bargain.

    The legal scorpions in the BBL trojan horse include the 10% provision which can readily be utililised to rapidly expand the territory with a ready made commercial centre, banking hub, port, airport in CDO – no doubt their new state capital.
    The BBL will be the thin end of an ever expanding geographic wedge in the philippines.

    The losers are the americans who are happy with the current status, and post-BBL will be kicked out of the area by MILF/Malaysia, unless something unfortunate happens to derail the process!

    Malaysia has played a long game, and is now on the final stretch. The next 2 months will be make or break. The heavy guns will be brought into play for the final push.

  13. Eddie de Leon on

    Despite this legacy of death and failure, Sir Yen Makabenta, BS Aquino’s and his KKK and Liberal Party cohorts will still be in power after the 2016 elections. This is because they have a weapon: the Comelec-approved (and Aquino encouraged and protected) Smartmatic Automated Election System (Smartmatic AES) which uses the PCOS machines with all the safeguards required by the Automated Election Law against fraud and manipulation DISABLED. This was what happened in the 2010 and 2013 elections, which were absolutely UNTRANSPARENT. This will again happen in 2016–if People Power does not force the junking of the Smartmatic AES and its horrible PCOS machines..

  14. Rogelio C. Lim on

    Bukod sa nagmamadali at walang kinunsulta si Noynoy tungkol sa ginawang peace agreement, maaring pinabayaan lamang niya si Deles at Ferrer sa pakikipag-usap sa mga negotiator ng MILF hindi katulad ni dating Presidente Ramos na marami siyang kinunsulta at pinag-aralan mismo niya. Kaya ang resulta ay isang peace agreement at BBL na maraming paglabag sa saligang batas. Hindi dapat pagkatiwalaan si Noynoy na sa maraming pagkakataon ay mapapansin mo na walang kakayahan maging presidente.

  15. P.Akialamiro on

    It is said that there’s always a reason for everything — even in death, sadly. One can really wonder if the death of the 44 SAFmassacred members, is the main reason why the BBL should not be passed as it is. What a sacrifice and what a blessing to the Philippines!

    The administration of Pres B S Aquino is “too naive” and “too short-sighted” to have agreed and signed such an agreement. The facts as stated in this article are too glaring that one can easily see the adverse possibiliities that might happen in the future. One may argue that these are only possibilities or products of the imagination. But, as they are, it’s incomprehensible for the Filipino to think about them. It may be ‘farfetched’ but, who knows once the country is weakened, China might orchestrate with Malaysia the ‘takeover’ of the whole Mindanao and the rest of the country for China to take over?. BTW, did anyone ever thought that China will claim what she now claims and do the reclamations being done right now?

    I do not want to think about the possible scenario but, with the kind of leaders the country is having, I pity the future generation of Filipinos. But, as a sad consolation is the fact that many of them will be found all over the world because it’s in those places where they found some decent life.

    By all means, the 44 SAF members (including those wounded) should be honored and hailed as “Heroes”. By the same token, Ben Luy, in a way, should be recognized for what he did. Meanwhile, fellow Netizens, and all those who love the Philippines, we have serious business to think about come 2016 elections. Let’s all be “pro-active” always to the best we can. Let’s vote out all the corrupt and do-nothing politicians with no tack records and eliminate dynasties. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

    REPLY: i agree EXCEPT ON ONE THING. Your HOPE in making the next elections, national elections in 2016, will only end up in bitter DISAPPOINTMENT. Why? Because the Comelec-approved and BSAquino protected Smartmatic-PCOS machines will not count the real vote of the people shown in the shaded ovals of the ballots we will place inside the PCOS machines. Our first resposibiity and tasks, as patriotic citizxens, is to move for the rejection of the illegal Smartmatic AES with PCOS machines whose security safeguards have been illegally removed in violation of all the rewuirements stated in our country’s Automated Election Law.

  16. I agree with your incisive essay and share your conclusion that indeed “instead of peace in Mindanao crowning his legacy and a Nobel prize as his reward, Aquino will leave behind a saga of death and failure. ”

    The people of this country and the international community do not have an iota of doubt that the fake president we have in Malacanang is really a GRAND FAILURE. I expect and await the time when we can make him pay for all his crimes the minute he steps down.