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Has the peace process been scripted to fail?


The historical bone of contention for the lingering problem of belligerence in Mindanao and Sulu can be found in three major diplomatic documents which I have already cited in my previous articles. Unfortunately, the people who have been given public authority, functional responsibility and executive prerogative to formulate the talking points, the diplomatic and legal parameters, the political and historical justifications and imperatives, and the principal parties and stakeholders to be involved in the peace talks, seem to routinely and premeditatedly continue to disregarded, set aside, and take these very vital negotiation issues and variables for granted.

The apparently continuous brushing aside and seemingly deliberate disregard of the cited vital diplomatic documents which can easily be obtained from major international and national libraries and archives has only given rise to widespread public perception and even suspicion that the ones who have been tasked by the Philippine Government to conduct peace negotiations with the belligerent fronts in Mindanao and Sulu have always been instructed or directed behind the scenes by powerful external minds to avoid using these historical diplomatic materials as basis for the peace talks.

For several decades now, they have been using the same issues, the same demands, and the same parties which based on my readings of major textbooks in Philippine history, internationally recognized, distributed, and academically utilized references, and renowned authors and researcher of global distinction and respectable reputation, were not the contracting states and signatories to these pertinent diplomatic documents I repeatedly identified.

To my mind, the original demand of the belligerent forces in Mindanao and Sulu, was the restoration of Mindanao and Sulu to their ancient independent and sovereign status before they were ceded and sold by Spain to the United States under Article III of the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris as parts of her colonial possession explicitly mentioned as the Philippine Islands. The contracting parties to this bilateral treaty were the United States of America and Spain.

The December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris, would have been a perfect diplomatic document of sale and cession of Mindanao and Sulu by Spain to the United States if only these two independent and sovereign states were conquered by Spain and were de facto political components of the Philippine Islands. The inclusion of the Sultanates of Sulu and Maguindanao  (although not explicitly mentioned) in the lines and coordinates of the technical description defining the territorial limits of the Philippine Islands,
would have been valid if they were really colonial possessions of Spain by virtue of conquest, occupation, and colonization. But the contradicting and disturbing historical fact is: These two sultanates on account of their being unconquered were not colonial possessions of Spain as confirmed by historians, researchers, globally distributed academic references, top American civil and military officials, and the two diplomatic documents forged between the United of America and the Sultanate of Sulu.

As I strongly stressed over and over again in the series of articles I wrote, the real root-cause of the decades old belligerence in Mindanao and Sulu is found in Article III of the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris. By the way, are the contracting states of this treaty principally involved in our Peace Process? Or have they been intentionally prevented to participate from its inception so that it will always fail? Has it been scripted, directed, and choreographed by powerful foreign countries who are so scared of the discovery and revelation of the military, political, and diplomatic scandals they had committed in history? Please provide us unequivocal and categorical answers to these queries that have been hounding and bugging our minds for the longest time. Let’s clear the historical air first, before we resume the peace talks. There’s no point in going through the motion of peace negotiation when the right principal parties and personages are not involved.  It’s nothing but a diplomatic sham exactly like the August 13, 1898 Mock War between Spain the United States for the capitulation of Manila.

By Clem M. Bascar


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