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GMA security adviser waiting for NBI summons over Sabah

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Former national security adviser Norberto Gonzales is still waiting for the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to summon him over the alleged conspiracy that led to the crisis in Sabah.

Gonzales stressed he had nothing to do with the so-called conspiracy that ignited the claim over Sabah.

“I didn’t know that I’m expected at the NBI. I read it in the papers. I was waiting for their summon but I haven’t received any,” Gonzales told ANC yesterday.

“I don’t know where they’re getting their story.”

Gonzales, who also served as defense secretary under the Arroyo administration, said his closeness to Sulu  Sultan Jamalul Kiram III could have been the reason why he is being linked to the crisis.

He confirmed reports that he had visited Kiram but claimed it was not related to the Sabah claim.

“Sultan Jamalul Kiram III is a very close friend of mine. When I saw him sick, I thought I should visit him in his residence,” Gonzales said.

“During my visit, we just exchanged pleasantries. That was it. I didn’t touch on the issue (of Sabah),” he added.

Gonzales said he might call the NBI and ask when he would be summoned. “The sooner this is done, the better,” he said.

Earlier, the NBI said it would summon Gonzales and other personalities to shed light on the Sabah crisis, which has led to violent clashes and bloodshed.

President Aquino himself believes that the crisis was a product of a conspiracy among certain individuals who are against the government.

There have been speculations that the crisis was meant to sabotage the government’s peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Anonymous text messages have circulated stating that the “grand conspiracy” against Aquino’s peace efforts was orchestrated by Gonzales, allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Kiram’s adviser Pastor Saycon and even presidential uncle Jose Cojuangco.

All the individuals tagged in the conspiracy have denied the allegations.

Saycon and Abraham Idjirani, spokesman for the sultanate of Sulu, met NBI Deputy Director Reynaldo Esmeralda to answer questions on the Sabah “incursion” by the sultanate’s royal security force.

“They (NBI) have some questions and we answered it. I told them there was no conspiracy and I think the NBI believed it,” Idjirani told reporters following the meeting with Esmeralda.

The meeting was held at Saycon’s office in Makati City.

Idjirani told Esmeralda that the sultanate would never conspire with anyone, particularly political personalities, in pursuing their claim on Sabah.

Saycon said Idjirani agreed to voluntarily meet the NBI officials at his office to avoid embarrassing the sultan and his family.

The NBI earlier issued subpoenas on Kiram, his wife Fatima Celia and their daughter Princess Jacel.

“The sultan was only offended by the issuance of the subpoenas… anyway Mr. Idjirani knows everything about the issue,” Saycon said.

On the other hand, Esmeralda said the NBI has yet to finalize their investigation into the “incursion.”

“The NBI is already investigating this. They have even sent men to Sulu and Tawi-Tawi but they got nothing,” Idjirani said.

Some sectors believe the “conspiracy theory” is being peddled by Malacañang to conceal the government’s failure to prevent bloodshed in Sabah.

Critics point out that Aquino seems to be engrossed in finding scapegoats rather than addressing the crisis, which has endangered about 800,000 Filipinos in Sabah.

The crisis, which has been triggered by armed encounters between Kiram’s supporters and Malaysian security forces, has left more than 60 people dead so far.

The NBI and the Philippine National Police have formed a task force to look into suspicions of a conspiracy in the Sabah crisis.  – With Mike Frialde

AQUINO

CONSPIRACY

CRISIS

GONZALES

IDJIRANI

KIRAM

NBI

SABAH

SAYCON

SULTAN JAMALUL KIRAM

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