The last decree issued by Sultan Jamalul Kiram 3rd before he died exhorted his followers not to waver in pursuing the sultanate’s claim to Sabah.
Sultanate Spokesman Abraham Idjirani said before Kiram died Sunday morning, the 75-year-old sultan was able to issue his last royal decree.
“The first thing he said in his last royal decree, he urged his family, brothers, and sisters to love each other more, and extend this love to the sultanate’s constituents,” Idjirani said.
The sultan also made it clear that his brothers and sisters and the sultanate must continue the campaign to reclaim Sabah.
Last February, Kiram, the acknowledged leader of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, sent his brother, Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram and 200 fighters from the Royal Security Forces to occupy the town of Lahad Datu in Sabah.
Malaysian troops drove out Kiram’s fighters following bloody clashes that lasted almost a month.
Kiram was preparing for dialysis on Friday afternoon when his blood pressure dropped to dangerous levels.
He was taken to the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City where he died.
Dr. Fatima Celia Kiram, the sultan’s wife, said he died while reciting the morning prayer.
“He died peacefully. In fact, even with his last breath, he recited our morning prayer. He is with Allah,” Mrs. Kiram told The Manila Times in an interview at their residence in Maharlika Village in Taguig City.
She described the sultan as a very simple, loyal and nationalistic Filipino who never compromised his principles while fighting to regain Sabah from Malaysia.
“He always said that he is a true Filipino. A very loyal and nationalistic one and he never sold his dignity and principles,” she said.
Kiram’s body was brought to his residence in Maharlika Village, Taguig City.
The Kiram residence was crowded with the sultan’s family, relatives and supporters who paid their final respect.
The body, placed in a black casket draped with red linen, was later brought to the Blue Mosque, where a short prayer was offered for the sultan.
Except for Sulu Vice Governor Abdusakur Tan and former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, no high ranking government officials were seen at the Kiram residence.
The sultan’s daughter, Princess Jacel Kiram, said the government ignored the sultan even at his time of death.
“We are hoping that Malacañang could provide us with a military plane to transport my father’s remains to Sulu but until now, we received no word from the government,” she added.
“What he wants is for us to pursue the Sabah case. My father has left an aspiration burning in very Filipinos heart to repossess Sabah,” Jacel said.
Dr. Fatima said they were able to book in a Philippine Airlines (PAL) chartered flight to bring the remains to Jolo, Sulu, where he will be buried in the Sultanate’s Jarul Jambangan cemetery in Maimbung.
She said a three-day prayer in Jolo will also be offered for Kiram. Under the Islamic tradition, a person must be buried within 24 hours after his death.
The Sultan is survived by his wife, children Jacel, Dayang-Dayang Jahara and Datu Jaafar; children Datu Tonton, Dayang-Dayang Tat, Dayang-Dayang NaNi, and Dayang-Dayang Lala by his wife Dayang-dayang Sheramar as well as two sisters and seven brothers.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO