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Juris Sanguinis and the peace process


The primary purpose for my writing this article is to earnestly request again GRP Peace Panel to involve the bona fide Royal Heirs of the Sultanates of Sulu and North Borneo and the Sultanate of Maguindanao as a confederacy, the United States of America, and Spain as key participants in the new round of peace talks with the two Liberation Fronts, the MNLF and MILF. I firmly believe that with the involvement and participation of the mentioned royal personages and countries, the peace process will be in the right track toward the genuine and final resolution of the Mindanao Crisis.

I am fully aware that for this advocacy, I have placed constantly my neck on the line. I will continue to pursue this extremely dangerous personal crusade despite overwhelming and insurmountable odds until all the right personages, colonial foreign powers, pertinent diplomatic documents, and other vital historical materials will be considered in the Peace Process. I maintain my conviction that the best roadmap to authentic and general peace in Mindanao and Sulu is our colonial history. This is the “Pandora’s Box” that must be opened now so that its contents can be unveiled before the eyes of the world and be usefully utilized as the fundamental talking points when the peace talks resume. This much- avoided and seemingly dreaded historical box should have been opened first before the formal commencement of the Peace Process.

The confirmations of historical authorities, internationally published and distributed academic references, and two diplomatic documents forged between the United States and the Sultan of Sulu that  that Mindanao and Sulu were not conquered by Spain, provide me the evidentiary underpinning to assert that the Royal Heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu and the Sultanate of Maguindanao are still the de jure owners of  these two ancient political institutions unless it can be proven by any expert in the principle of juris sanguinis (right of blood)  that the last reigning Sultans of these two monarchies lost their respective rights and sovereignties to either Spain, United States, or the Republic of the Philippines, by reason of “debellatio” which is the pacific extermination of their thrones by their own free will. Here are some expert opinions expressed related to Royalty and Nobility contained in an article written by H.I.R.H.Prince Mauricio Ahnume Guerios, PhD. entitled, “Misconceptions About The Legal Principle of Prescription”:

1.    “Lately, some websites related to Royalty and Nobility are trying to ‘freely’ apply the legal principle of prescription ‘deciding that some Royal claims would be lost forever. Never in the history of Mankind, a deposed sovereign (or his/her descendants) ‘lost’ his/her rights by any reason but debellatio. (which is the pacific and willing extermination of the throne by the free will of the ruling monarch. The concept of sovereignty formally implies a power that is absolute, perpetual, imprescriptible and inalienable.”- Andrew Vincent, Nationalism and Particularity, 2002, p.1.

2.    “Sovereignty is one and indivisible, it cannot be delegated, sovereignty is irrevocable, sovereignty is perpetual, these are the main points of characterization that made Bodin’s sovereignty in the seventeenth century an essential element of the State.”-Dr. Paulo Bonavides in his book, ‘Political Sciences’ (Ciencia Politica), p. 126.”

3.     “After the deposition, the usurped State is no longer the appropriated and competent legal system to rule over the deposed sovereign’s rights.  That’s pacific. Another important fact is that, even deposed, the sovereign remains sovereign. The King does not forfeit the character of royalty merely by the loss of his kingdom. If he is unjustly despoiled of it by a usurper, or by rebels, he still preserves his rights… In other words, he/she keeps being completely independent to any legal system, even independent of international law.”- Emirich de Vattel, The Law of Nations, Book II, no. I96.

4.    “The doctrine and jurisprudence have confirmed that the territorial power is not necessary for the exercise of the dynasty, for they are inserted in the person of the sovereign, which keeps the same after the loss of the throne, passing them regularly to their heirs and successors. The loss of its territory in no way diminishes its sovereign powers, because these are inherent in the person of the sovereign, transmitting it, perpetually to their descendants.” –Prof. Dr. W. Baroni Santos in his book Treaty of Heraldry.” This means that for as long as there is royal blood, there is sovereignty.”

5.    “Their ‘right’ to sovereignty cannot be destroyed unless the deposed king or sovereign prince or their rightful successors willingly and without duress or coercion of any kind either renounces, cedes, abandons, acquiesces, or gives up his/her royal right to rule either tacitly or by implication. In other words, if the ‘de jure’ sovereign and his successors continue to use their titles, they are safe and retain their full honor and glory of their kingdoms on a never-ending basis. The principle of inviolability of sovereignty means that the occupying power may obtain de facto sovereignty, but ousted sovereign (deposed monarch) retains it de jure.”- Ref.: Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association, Le Center Sheraton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 17, 2004.

On account of the historical fact that the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo and the Sultanate of Maguindanao were not conquered by Spain, their respective royal descendants are still in my honest opinion, the de jure owners of these ancient monarchial territories for their cession and sale to the United States by Spain under Article III of the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris were without legal validity. This is the primary reason I strongly suggest that the Royal Heirs, the United States, and Spain should be involved in the Peace Process with the MNLF and MILF, making it holistic, historically based, diplomatically realistic, and truly representative.

Although admittedly a non-lawyer, I nonetheless, hold the personal conviction that the Government of the Philippines’ principal role in the peace talks should be a facilitator or moderator. Why? Because the Philippines was only a recipient of the unilateral incorporation of Mindanao and Sulu into its body politic when it was granted self-government and independence by the United States of America on July 4, 1946. Frankly, to my honest opinion, the GRP is not the right country with which to negotiate for the decolonization of the Sultanates of Maguindanao and Sulu or for any kind of Muslim autonomous political entity, but the United States and Spain. And the ones who should be the principal de jure party in interest are the royal heirs or descendants of the two last reigning sultans of these unconquered ancient political institutions. It is also my personal view that the right legal body to handle this case is the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of the United Nations. By the way, although the process could be too expensive and agonizingly slow, the beautiful thing about it, is that it could be done without sacrificing a sacred human life or firing a single bullet in the field of combat. I am quite certain, that the litigation process even in the International Court of Justice will be much, much lesser in cost than waging a protracted war for self-determination or sub-political entity in Mindanao and Sulu.

Of course, this is purely a matter of personal opinion and I claim no legal competence, judicial expertise, or sterling academic credentials in diplomacy and history.

By Clem M. Bascar

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