By Miguel Ortilla
Abraham Idjirani, spokesman of the Kirams, has always insisted that the Kiram family is united in their reasserting their claim over Sabah.
But on Wednesday, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III aired his frustrations over Bantilan Esmail Kiram II.
He admitted authorizing his younger brother to talk with the government about the Sabah situation. But he was not supposed to negotiate.
"Nainis ako [I was annoyed]," the Sultan said. "Nag walk out ako [I walked out]."
The Sultan said he felt felt slighted and hurt after his brother met with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas on Tuesday.
Roxas then mentioned the possible "disengagement" of the Sultan's men in Sabah.
In the past days, it has always been the family's spokesman Idjirani or their adviser Pastor "Boy" Saycon who relayed the Sultan's messages to the media. But, as it turned out, he was not always aware of what they actually said.
On Tuesday, Saycon confirmed the Kirams are open to disengagement - and that groundwork for possible negotiations were now being laid.
But the Sultan said that Esmail never even explained to him and the council what he and Roxas talked about.
The man whom the Rajah Muda sought clearance from before the armed adventure - the one supposedly making all the decisions -- now feels left out.
"Masakit. Bilang kapatid masakit talaga gamitin pangalan mo [It hurts. It really hurt to see your brother use your name]."
In a similar contradiction of statements, the family said they were willing to appear before the National Bureau of Investigation, which is conducting a probe.
But after Saycon spoke to them, they said they would not make an appearance.
Meanwhile, shooting erupted again near Lahad Datu – ending with three members of Royal Army of the Sultanate of Sulu being killed, along with a Malaysian soldier killed.
As of 6 a.m. of Wednesday, the family said that Rajah Muda, who was leading the men in Sabah, was still alive.
If negotiations to finally end the crisis are underway, Sultan Kiram said the final say would still be his. But for now, disengagement is still not an option – unless the government would talk to him directly.
He added that if Esmail would decide to contact the Raja Muda directly and convince him to come home, Raja Muda's answer would still be no.
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Pia Hontiveros, Chief Correspondent and anchor of Solar Network News and News.Ph, presents the Solar News and Current Affairs year-ender special: On the Cusp of Change. A deafening silence, not out of a loss for words but a grief that cannot be spoken, for thousands lost to a super typhoon ... A muted pain from a powerful tremor that violently shook the heart of the nation ... An unspeakable anger over pork barrel that fueled a political maelstrom ... These and other stories from the extraordinary challenging year that was.