Concurrent resolution expressing the sense of the Philippines that North Borneo belongs to the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu and to the ultimate sovereignty of the Republic of the Philippines, and authorizing the President to conduct negotiations for the restoration of such ownership and sovereign jurisdiction over said territory.

Tags:

SECOND CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC
OF THE PHILIPPINES

First Session

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

[H. Ct. R. No. 42]

Introduced by Congressmen Macapagal, Rasul, Escareal, Cases, Tizon, Tolentino and Lacson

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE PHILIPPINES THAT NORTH BORNEO BELONGS TO THE HEIRS OF THE SULTAN OF SULU AND TO THE ULTIMATE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, AND AUTHORIZING THE PRESIDENT TO CONDUCT NEGOTIATIONS FOR THE RESTORATION OF SUCH OWNERSHIP AND SOVEREIGN JURISDICTION OVER SAID TERRITORY.26

WHEREAS, on January 22, 1878, Sultan Mahomet Jamal Al Alam of Sulu, executed an agreement with two British subjects, Gustavus Baron de Overbeck and Alfred Dent, leasing and delivering to the latter the territory now known as British North Borneo for an annual rental of $5,000;

WHEREAS, on April 22, 1903, the British North Borneo Company, which succeeded to the rights of Messrs. Overbeck and Dent, entered into another agreement with Sultan Jamalul Kiram of Sulu to include in the original lease certain is lands lying north and northeast of Borneo for an additional rental of $300 annually;

WHEREAS, Messrs. Overbeck and Dent and their successors, including the British Government, paid religiously the total annual rental of $5,300 for the leased territory until the year 1936;

WHEREAS, the British Government ceased to pay the annual rental in 1936 not because of repudiation of its obligation to make payment but due to a controversy as to who are the present heirs of the Sultan of Sulu entitled to receive the annuity;

WHEREAS, on July 16, 1946 the British Government annexed as a crown colony the aforesaid leased territory known as British North Borneo, thereby depriving the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu, of ownership over the territory;

WHEREAS, the annexation of the territory as a crown colony of the United Kingdom is based mainly on the claim that the deed executed by Sultan Mahomet Jamal Alam on January 22, 1878 in favor of Messrs. Overbeck and Dent was a cession and not a lease; which claim is unfounded because the deed in fact was merely a lease whereby the Sultan of Sulu delegated his governmental powers to the lessees and granted to them the right to develop and exploit the territory, reserving to himself the ultimate sovereignty over said territory;

WHEREAS, the act of annexation made by the British Government is furthermore, based on the claim that subsequent to the deed of January 22, 1878, the Sultan of Sulu capitulated in the same year to the Crown of Spain which in turn renounced the sovereignty over North Borneo, which claim lacks merit because in the Treaty of Capitulation between the Sultan of Sulu and the King of Spain, the Sultan did not relinquish his residual sovereignty over North Borneo, as in fact, the Sultan was never really and permanently under the authority of the Crown of Spain, and, therefore, the renunciation by Spain of sovereignty over North Borneo in the Treaty of 1885 with Britain did not serve to affect the right of sovereignty, of the Sultan of Sulu over said territory;

WHEREAS, it results from the foregoing that the action of the British Government on July 16, 1946, annexing North Borneo as a crown colony is unwarranted and illegal; that the territory belongs to the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu, who are all Filipino citizens and who have approached the authorities of the Philippine government for the protection of their rights; that subject to an adjustment of the lease rights of the British Government as the ultimate successor of the original lessees, the said territory should be restored to the ownership of said Filipino citizens and to the sovereign jurisdiction of the Republic of the Philippines whose authority said heirs recognize without qualification: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives of the Philippines, the Senate concurring, That it is the sense of the Congress of the Philippines that subject to the lease rights of the British Government, the territory known as the British North Borneo belongs to the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu and falls under the ultimate sovereignty of the Republic of the Philippines; that the President of the Philippines is authorized to negotiate with the British Government or to take other suitable steps for the restoration of the ownership over the territory to the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu and the recognition of the sovereign jurisdiction of the Philippines over the same; and that the President is requested to inform the Congress of the Philippines of such action as he may take relative hereto, and, if necessary, to recommend to this Congress such measures as may be expedient to carry out the import of this resolution.

Adopted, April 28, 1950.

Footnote:

26 and 28 The following resolutions, together with the Proclamation of the Sultan of Sulu and other documents not included in this publication, show that the Sultanate of Sulu and the Philippine Government have consistently asserted the proprietary rights and sovereignty of the Sultanate over North Borneo. (See also pane 149.)

Source: Philippine Claim to North Borneo, Vol. I