Statement of Secretary Edwin Lacierda:
On the malicious representations by Jacel Kiram
[March 6, 2013]
From the very start, we have urged a peaceful resolution to the standoff in Sabah, one that is only possible if people act with sobriety, and the utmost awareness of the deep implications incendiary rhetoric and speculation can have, with lives at stake for Filipinos in Sabah, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and beyond.
Ms. Jacel Kiram’s use of a photograph which she claimed were of Malaysian casualties has led to the discovery by media that the photograph was not of Malaysian casualties in the Sabah standoff but of Thai military casualties in a 2007 incident that had nothing to do whatsoever with the standoff in Sabah.
Ms. Kiram’s attempted deception goes beyond grandstanding and strays into the realm of incendiary, irresponsible action. It has called into question the credibility of Jamalul Kiram III’s branch of the family and their deadly misadventure. We must all now wonder: what other assertions made by the Kiram party are false?
We ask all to bear in mind that talk is cheap, but loose talk can cost lives. This misrepresentation of a photograph for publicity’s sake is a double desecration: of those now bearing the brunt of the rash actions of Jamalul Kiram III, and of those military casualties whose service to their country has become fodder for public relations.
Once more, we counsel all concerned, to bear in mind the need to uphold the interest of the greater number of Filipinos, who are placed at risk by this kind of disregard for facts and the truth.