The assets of the Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo, Sultan Jamalul Kiram consist of 617,500 MT of Au AND 500,000 pieces of 10-karat diamonds. This mass quantity of Au was brought to Manila in 1935, through the Sultan Julaspi’s father’s trustees namely, Julian Macleod Tallano (the grandson of Alfred Dent-one of the lesses of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo/Sabah, circa January 4, 1878) and Reverend Father Antonio Diaz a.k.a. Col. Severino Santa Romana.
All these assets were eventually transported to Vatican City in 1939 in the effort to protect them from the escalating World War II. After the World War II was over, particularly in 1949 the afore named trustees, with the assistance of then young and brilliant lawyer, Atty. Ferdinand E. Marcos brought back the Au to the Philippines (Atty. Marcos would eventually become the Senate President, then elected as the President of the Philippines and would hold to the presidency for more than 20 years). For reasons of both safekeeping and assisting the stability of the reborne Philippine Republic, the Philippine government borrowed these assets on January 7, 1949 to augment and achieve the gold reserve of its newly instituted Philippine Central Bank. Because of the Sultan’s gold reserve with the Central Bank, the Philippine peso had stabilized in the period of 1949 to 1960, when the value of the peso against the dollar barely ranged from $1:P2 to $1:P4.
Unknown to many the root cause of the Marcos-Macapagal conflict emanated from the illegal and secret transport by then Senate President Marcos of some three metric tons of Sultan’s gold reserve from the Philippine Central Bank to London and another seven metric tons to Zurich and Germany on September 23, 1963 without the permission of the Sultan’s son; Sultan Julaspi (since Sultan Jamalul was already dead at this time) and of then President Diosdado Macapagal. While the Sultanates 617,500 metric tons of gold bullion inventory at the Philippine Central Bank remained intact, in actuality some ten (10) metric tons thereof were forcibly withdrawn by the Senate Security force even in the presence of the Royal family’s caretaker; Rev. Father Antonio Diaz.
When President Marcos became the President of the Philippines, a total of two hundred seventeen thousand (217,000) metric tons of the Royal family AU reserve were illegally transported between 1965 to 1970 to various countries such as, the Republic of China, Hong Kong (which was then a British colony), Switzerland, USA and the United Kingdom only four hundred thousand (400,000) metric tons remained of the Sultan’s gold reserve. In executing these illegal transfers, President Marcos and then Central Bank Governor Andres Castillo forcibly made Reverend Father Antonio Diaz, being the entrusted signatory to the Sultan’s AU bullion accounts, to sign the withdrawal of Marcos.
From 1970 onwards, President Marcos no longer used the good Reverend father Antonio Diaz in his withdrawal, instead he convinced the only son of Sultan Jamalul Kiram named Sultan Julaspi to give him the full power of authority to withdraw the remaining gold reserve of the Sultanate. Sultan Julaspi Kiram who was then living in Malaysia (9 lorong Maarof, Off Jalan Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur) did not hesitate with Marcos idea. For one, it woud be his family’s opportunity to finally secure their assets and secondly, he gave his full trust to Marcos considering that he was a relative. With his full authority, President Marcos then transported the remaining AU reserve to various countries, that is China, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Dubai, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan Germany, Canada, US, Pakistan, North Korea, Jordan, Norway, Spain, Australia, South Korea, Oman, UAE and a host of other countries.
Although Marcos assigned the assets to different names, he managed to put on record that the real owner of this tremendous wealth is no other than the only surviving one and only son of Sultan Jamalul Kiram II; Sultan Julaspi Kiram. Different beneficiaries were assigned by Marcos to the different accounts in various banks worldwide. Many of the beneficiaries were heads of State, his own family members, some of his trusted military men, while a number of the accounts were in the names of Sta. Romana, Pedro Palafox, Clemente Santiago, William Morales, Bayaban, DNP and Evelinda Bobila under the master account “cactus Dahlia EB 101 that includes all the FLAT accounts and many others.
Considering that these accounts were eventually traded worldwide, huge and tremendous cash accounts were created from the proceeds alone. These traded accounts, which in reality were owned by Sultan Julaspi Kiram, were managed by his relative ex President Marcos.
In 1980, President Marcos persuaded Sultan Julaspi Kiram to return to the Philippines. Sultan Julaspi has been living in Malaysia with hopes from the promises of the Malaysian Government, through Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, that he would be installed as the First Yang Di Peruan Agong of Malaysia or First King of Kings Malaysia being the legitimate owner of Sabah which was annexed to Malaysia because of the Sultan Julaspi’s approval. As this promise proved futile and as his hopes faded, Sultan Julaspi Kiram together with his three (3) sons namely: Prince Rodinood, Prince Arhan and Prince Khudar returned to the Philippines under the heavy guard of President Marcos’ military. This time president Marcos was bent of on helping the Sultan to regain his old leased land the State of Sabah /North Borneo, from the Malaysian Government. Marcos and Sultan Julaspi Kiram worked on the plans to regain Sabah and to develop the whole Mindanao, Archipelago of Sulu (which includes Tawi tawi, Basilan and all the Islands around) and the rest of the Philippines using the assets of the Sultan.
Unfortunately, in 1986 President Marcos was deposed in a popular revolt and flown by the Americans to Hawaii, where he died a few years later (1989), Sultan Julaspi Kiram was left behind. He died in 1994 in deep frustration of not having been able to access any of his accounts.
In 1995, the signatory trustee of the master account “ CACTUS DHALIA” EB 101”, MS. EVELINDA BOBILA, through Mr. Sulaiman Ismail of Bumiputra Bank of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, instructed the principal bank, UBS HEAD OFFICE IN ZURICH, to notify all the depository banks in 54 countries around the world of the change of account ownership from her to PRINCE HADJI RODINOOD M. SULTAN JULASPI KIRAM. Since the transfer, the current account owner/signatory has not been able to physically present to these institutions to complete the procedures. This is the very reason why the present registered owner has not been able to receive any bank statements from any of these depository banks.
It is a recorded fact that many countries all over the world owe the Au reserves of their respective Central Banks to the wealth of the Sultan of Sulu. Even Malaysia, which had been rude towards the family of the late Sultan Julaspi Kiram, can never deny the fact that without the Sultan’s wealth, Malaysia would not become what it is now.
The Philippine Government has likewise no right to run after this AU and cash accounts for it does not belong to them. Even before Marcos became the President, the Sultanate had outstanding AU and cash accounts in various banks all over the world. Even their own Supreme Court of the Philippines had recorded the saga of the Sultanate’s wealth of how it has raised the country’s economy, of how these were wrongfully and unfairly tossed to several accounts. The Philippines therefore cannot profess recovering wealth it does not own.SULTAN HADJI RODINOOD, the eldest son of Sultan Julaspi Kiram and the rightful Heir to the throne of the Royal Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo/Sabah is calling on the leaders of the world to heed his father’s Last Will and Testament that his family be restored to its rightfully standing, to revive the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo and to utilize his assets where they could ultimately make difference to uplift the lives of many, not only of the Sultanate, but also all people around the world.