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Opinion

NBI: Sultan inciting war against Malaysia

- Federico D. Pascual Jr. - The Philippine Star

CONSPIRACY: The National Bureau of Investigation recommends the filing of criminal charges, including inciting to war, against some leaders and members of the Sultanate of Sulu who, it said, had conspired to reclaim Sabah from Malaysia.

Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and his followers never hid the fact that they want to recover Sabah, their ancestral land that had been unilaterally given by the United Kingdom — which did not own it — to the Malaysian federation when it was hurriedly put together in 1963.

To go into such a complex “adventure” (to borrow the NBI’s term) those involved would really have to ”conspire” — in the sense of collaborating, planning, plotting and acting in concert.

The Kirams will not deny plotting to get their property back, even the fact that they used firearms to battle superior Malaysian forces that had attacked them in their coastal settlements in Sabah.

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ALLIES CLEARED: Instead of inciting to war, charges of illegal possession of firearms and gun-toting during the election period might stick better. (But can the administration eschew selective prosecution and go after all those in Mindanao who are illegally holding guns?)

The NBI cleared former national security adviser Norberto Gonzales, Council for Philippine Affairs secretary-general Pastor â€œBoy” Saycon, Moro National Liberation Front chairman Nur Misuari, and former media man Waldy Carbonell of involvement in the “adventure”.

Only Saycon, an adviser of the sultan, went to the NBI to explain things. The Kirams did not show up, leaving it to their spokesman Abraham Idjirani to do the talking.

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INCITING WHO? Waging war might be a more apt description of what the sultanate’s armed followers did on their own in Sabah without dragging the Philippine government into a shooting war.

In my view, inciting to war is out of the question. The Kirams, even public opinion, cannot incite President Noynoy Aquino to declare war against his Malaysian friends.

Actually, Kuala Lumpur has been the one conspiring — together with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, some Palace personalities and foreign power brokers — to carve out a Bangsamoro sub-state from Muslim Mindanao.

Such a conspiracy is, at the very least, an unfriendly if not a warlike act.

Precisely the Sulu sultanate has been complaining that the Aquino administration seems to be more sympathetic to Kuala Lumpur than to the plain Filipinos in Sabah being harassed by Malaysian forces.

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CONVERGENCE: Broadcast pioneer ABS-CBN, meanwhile, ushers in the media convergence era in the Philippines with the expansion of its telecommunications business via a network sharing agreement with Globe Telecom.

The partnership interconnecting the two industries enables ABS-CBN — the country’s largest media and entertainment conglomerate — to deliver its content and traditional telecoms services on mobile devices.

ABS-CBN chairman Eugenio Lopez III said that this pioneering move of the 60-year-old company will create a new experience for Filipinos by expanding their access to the network’s content on their cellphones and other mobile devices.

“ABS-CBN believes the mobile platform to be the fastest growing venue for content viewership. We have already proven that with the success of iWant TV!, where people access our content whenever and wherever they want.” Lopez said. “Now, with the help of Globe, we will be able to maximize the mobile platform to reach more Filipinos anywhere, anytime.”

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GLOBE’S ROLE: On the other hand, Globe Telecom CEO Ernest Cu said the partnership will create a new market for mobile users.

“We are happy that Globe is once again at the forefront of a pioneering effort.” Cu said. “We entered this partnership to provide Filipinos with more reasons to enjoy their mobile phones. The exclusive content that ABS CBN will provide ushers in a new form of entertainment for mobile users.”

He added: “We are now seeing the gains of our network modernization and IT transformation initiatives, having new capabilities to enter into these businesses to showcase our strength and leadership.”

Globe will provide capacity and coverage nationwide on its cellular mobile telephony network to ABS-CBN Convergence. The partners may also share and interconnect such assets as servers, towers, and switches.

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ABS-CBN TRACK: In the 2000s, ABS-CBN launched TFC.tv, the first video-streaming site that carries the network’s content to Filipinos abroad.

Recently, ABS-CBN introduced its free video streaming website for Philippine residents, iWanTV!, which has revolutionized viewing habits by allowing the watching of programs on demand.

Lopez maintained that Filipinos “remain to be the network’s inspiration in coming up with world-class programs and innovative ways of delivering content.”

He added: “We have been investing heavily in digital content and platforms because we know that’s what Filipinos are looking for. They want to widen their horizons, to learn and experience more, to connect with others and express themselves.”

ABS-CBN was also in the forefront of the cable TV industry through SkyCable and is well ahead in preparing for the Philippines’ switch to Digital Terrestrial Television with test broadcast activities being conducted in different parts of the nation.

It has also set a template for media organization expansion, as it has successfully spread out its business from just radio and TV broadcasting to also print, licensing, music, events, and now, telecommunications.

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FRIDAY FORUM: Tomorrow is again “Balitaan” day at the Bale Balita (House of News) in Clark Field in Pampanga. Sponsored by the Capampangan in Media Inc. (CAMI), the Friday forum sees CAMI members and guests exchanging news and views over breakfast from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

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RESEARCH: Access past POSTSCRIPTs at www.manilamail.com. Follow us via Twitter.com/@FDPascual. Send feedback to [email protected]

 

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