"After nearly 50 years, it's time for the Philippine Republic and its government to be brave, to admit officially to the world that PH did plan to 'invade' Sabah -- and not to give a damn about what Kuala Lumpur might think or say, to open the "official" records and give due recognition to those 'unsung, under cover heroes' of the Republic, who had been embedded in Sabah and who were brutally tortured and murdered by Malaysia's dreaded ISA in the run up to the denunciation of Operation Merdeka, so that they may finally rest in peace! The Republic owes them that..."
By Anne de Bretagne
For the Philippine Sabah Claim Forum
for the Defenders of Philippine Sabah & Spratly Claims
and for the Sabah Claim Society
21 August 2015
The following, in a nutshell, is the "infamous" Operation Merdeka, i.e., Philippine plan to recover Sabah (before the plan was scuttled):
Operation Merdeka was originally the brainchild of President Diosdado Macapagal but its execution was organised by his successor, President Marcos. The plan was not to wage war against the Suluks in Sabah (Suluks are the Tausug inhabitants of Sabah) but only to create disturbance in Sabah. The initial purpose was to INFILTRATE Sabah by sending military trained Tausugs from Sulu to organise huge rallies, enormous rallies (much like what Putin did to Crimea) and to catch the Peninsular Malaysians by surprise... Noting the distance between KL and Kota Kinabalu, Marcos was banking on the element of surprise, i.e., that it would take Kuala Lumpur a great deal of time to scramble their fighters and by then everything would be over. Sabah would be under PH control.
Marcos had a squadron of the the Philippine Air Force which got ready to fly over Kota Kinabalu and other towns (in a bid to frighten whatever KL troops or sentries were there) while the infiltrated troops (Tausugs and their AFP military handlers) were occupying the most sensitive positions, hoist the PH FLAG atop every point, blast the announcement over loudspeakers all over Sabah towns... the PHIL AIR FORCE fighter aircraft then would fly over to signal that Sabah was retaken! THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE OPERATION MERDEKA
But as ever, Murphy's military law played its hand: "Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong!" because Senator Ninoy Aquino, true to the Aquino clan mantra, would rather sabotage the plan against his own countrys interest to favour the Peninsular Malaysians -- God knows we know not why -- just as Senator Sumulong (his 'uncle-in-law) had done before him and just as his son is doing today.
And what the Filipino public hardly knows about is what happened after Operation Merdeka was denounced: Filipinos under cover, on mission for the Republic were captured, ruthlessly tortured, killed, and are buried in the recesses of Sabah.
Understand that there were already hundreds of PH assets, military and para-military who had gone under cover and had infiltrated Sabah* (long before the so-called or the sensationalised "Jabidah-Corregidor Massacre" victims); they had already been sent to Sabah, had been lying under cover all over Sabah in preparation for the 'Operation' and who were caught in the quagmire in Sabah (North Borneo) after Sen Ninoy Aquino denounced the operation on the Senate pulpit.
Kuala Lumpur's intel agencies, led by Malaysia's dreaded ISA, moved with lightning speed, captured many of them, tortured and killed many, many of them -- impossible to determine today the number of Filipino para-military and military infiltrates in Sabah who were ruthlessly tortured and summarily executed unless we open PH Government records officially. A horrendous end for these Filipinos who were on mission for the Republic but who remain officially nameless today. They were Filipinos.
*NB: These Operation Merdeka assets had already infiltrated Sabah as moles, plants, sleepers, undercover agents, etc., long before the sensationalised "Jabidah Massacre" and were not the "Tausug trainees' referred to in the Corregidor-Jabidah Massacre episode exposed by Senator Ninoy Aquino and who were still being groomed precisely to join these assets that had already been embedded in Sabah. The embedded assets in Sabah fell victims to Malaysia's killer hands following the denunciation of the Operation in the Senate by Senator Ninoy Aquino.
Until today, many of -- if not all, those nameless PH casualties cannot be officially recognised by our government, cannot be given proper burial, or even just be given proper honours, because to officially recognise them as Operation Merdeka heroes, PH must admit to having planned and partly executed the invasion of Sabah and that just cannot be done according to PH government. So, today, there are many unsung heroes, casualties of this "silent, undeclared war", buried in Sabah without recognition from their government for what they have done in the name of the Republic. But Malaysia knows the crimes it has committed on these people in 1968 and knows that PH doesn't give a damn about them.
It's time to face what happened in Sabah after the scuttling of Operation Merdeka nearly 50 years ago to honour those Filipinos who were sent on a covert mission but never came back because they were captured, tortured and killed by Malaysia if only to give them proper burial.
After almost 50 years, it's time for the Philippine Republic and its government to be brave, to admit officially to the world that PH did plan to 'invade' Sabah -- and not to give a damn about what Kuala Lumpur might think or say, to open the "official" records and give due recognition to those 'unsung, under cover heroes' of the Republic who were brutally tortured and murdered by Malaysia's dreaded ISA in the run up to the denunciation of Operation Merdeka so that they may finally rest in peace! The Republic owes them that...