KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 — A former Filipino senate president has mooted Sabah as the 13th federal state of the Philippines, as part of proposed amendments to the Philippines federal constitution, according to a report.
ABS-CBN reported today that former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel made the suggestion in his capacity as a member of the charter change consultative committee, a committee that is formulating proposed amendments to the 1987 constitution of the Philippines.
“There should be a way that is acceptable under international laws to assert our claim to Sabah,” he told was quoted as saying.
“I think we can defer it a little bit more but to say that we stop doing it is not in the context of my proposal.”
Pimentel proposed 12 federal states for the Philippines, with Sabah being added as a 13th state once the Philippines is successful in claiming the state.
“Eventually once we have asserted our sovereignty and rights over Sabah, we should include Sabah. Not only Sabah, but also Scarborough, Benham Rise, and Spratlys,” he said.
Duterte previously said that he would continue pursuing the Filipino claim on Sabah, but would only do it in a peaceful way.
The Philippines has long staked a claim in Sabah, claiming that it was a territory of the former Sulu sultanate.
Militants claiming to be representing the Sulu Sultanate staged an invasion in Lahad Datu, Sabah in 2013, but were defeated by Malaysian security forces.