President Benigno Aquino III Monday said cases are being readied against those behind the standoff in Sabah even as he warned them that they will not succeed.
"We are aware that there are those who conspired to bring us to this situation. Some of their identities are clear to us, while others continue to sulk in the shadows," the President said in a statement aired over People's Television 4 and government radio station Radyo ng Bayan.
"Meron tayong mga intelligence reports, meron ding mga taong masasabi nating 'persons of interest'. Pero 'yung intel report does not necessarily provide you with the evidence that is necessary for our courts," he said.
As such, the President said that cases are being built up against these conspirators.
"Ipagdiinan lang po natin, may sakit si Sultan Jamalul Kiram; kailangan niyang mag-dialysis. 'Yung dialysis tinutulungan siya ng PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office). So, even in terms of attending to his own health, 'yung he needs assistance. I am told that renting a sufficiently large boat, to go to Sabah costs about P100,000. And there were two boats, at least, and one speedboat that was used by these group. So funds and then the food -- money siguro that were left behind. 'Yung mga seemingly concerted criticisms all point to a conspiracy," he said.
"To the people who are behind this, even now, I tell you: you will not succeed. All those who have wronged our country will be held accountable," he stressed.
President Aquino stressed that there is a provision in the Constitution that prohibits the formation of private armed groups.
"They (armed followers of Sulu Sultan Kiram) are, obviously, by any definition are armed group. They call themselves a particular claim. And meron daw yatang connivance allegedly by certain members of the past administration in the formation on this, which is a violation of the Constitution and various other laws of the land," he said.
The President said there is also a provision in the Revised Penal Code that cites inciting to war.
"When you have an armed group that goes into an area administered by a different nation, can that not be considered an act of war by some of our citizens? And the Revised Penal Code has specific law that penalizes people who incite others to war," he noted.
President Aquino said he already tasked the Dept. of Justice to investigate the matter.
"My call to the family of Sultan Jamalul Kiram has not changed: it is not reasonable to ask for understanding, if your weapons are pointed at the faces of those you are speaking with. We will be able to put an end to this trouble, if the people involved in it become reasonable, especially those who see themselves as true leaders," he stressed.