Clemencio Montecillo Bascar was a former Professor and Vice President for Corporate Affairs of the Western Mindanao State University. He is a recepient of various local, regional, and national awards in songwriting, playwriting, poetry, and public service. Several of his poems had been published in international literary magazines and journals such as, Foliate Oak , BRICKrhetoric, About Place, Torrid Literature, Mused-theBellaOnline Lietrary Review, and The Voices Project. He had written and published by the Western Mindanao State University two books of poetry, namely; "Fragments of the Eucharist" and "Riots of Convictions." In the Philippines, some of his poems appeared in the such magazines as Women's, MOD, and Chick.
At present, he writes a column in the Zamboanga Today daily newspaper and resides at 659 Gemini Street, Tumaga, Zamboanga City, Philippines. He is married to the former Miss Melinda Climaco dela Cruz and blest with three children, Jane, Lynnette, and Timothy James.
MINDANAO AND SULU WERE BIZARRELY SOLD
Up to this point of my academic effort, I still could not find any research- based and jury-validated account or narration that supports the claim or contention that the Sultanates of Maguindanao (Mindanao) and Sulu were conquered and colonized by Spain.
On the contrary the authoritative references, research data, and the relevant diplomatic documents I have at present overwhelmingly tend to support and uphold the historicity that Mindanao and Sulu were not conquered and colonized by Spain. Let me buttress the factuality and truthfulness of this assertion by citing four of the many eminent and most credible authorities I have on file:
1. "The arrival of the Spaniards in the second half of the 16th Century and the subsequent conquest of Luzon, led the Muslims to retreat to the South where they maintained their independence from foreign powers to the end of the Spanish regime."- Teodoro A. Agoncillo and Milagros Guererro, History of the Filipino People, p. 22.
2. "The Sulu Sultanate remained practically independent for four hundred and twenty five years. The tenacity with which the Sulus resisted Spanish dominations, their obdurate opposition and bravery in battle, and their obstinate passive resistance in peace baffled all Spanish efforts to subvert their political organization or gain a simple point of advantage without paying so dearly."- George A. Malcolm, The Government of the Philippine Islands, New York, Copyright 1916, pp 357-359.
3. "The close of the unsuccessful Spanish conquest of the Moroland marked the beginning of the end of one of the most remarkable resistances in the annals of military history. The Moslems had staged a bitter and uninterrupted warfare against the might of Spain for a period of 377 years. It is doubtful if this record has been equalled in the whole bloody history of military aggression. The Dons accustomed to the easy conquests of Peru and Mexico met their match in the jungles of Mindanao."- Vic Hurley, Swish of the Kris, page 14.
4. "In the year 1886 Spanish troops under General Terrero began the campaign in Cotabato against Datu Utto. They demolished some Muslim cottas but failed to penetrate the enemy territory. In 1891 General Weyler undertook personal command of Cotabato campaign. After short time, however, the strength of the Muslim kris and the ravages of the jungle fever forced him to return to Zamboanga. In 1895 General Blanco took the field against the Lanao Muslims, but gave up the campaign after three months of hard fighting. In 1898, General Buille resumed the Cotabato campaign. The Spanish-American War of 1898 found the Muslims and the Spaniards stalemated in the jungles of Moroland. After 300 years of invasion, Spain had failed to conquer and Christianize the fierce Muslims. The Spanish soldiers retired from the field with only the empty glory of war to their credit."- Gregorio F. Zaide, Ph. D., author of the textbook entitled, 'Philippine Political and Cultural History,' page. 320. Gregorio F. Zaide is popularly known as the Father of Philippine History.
In my preceding articles, I posited several times that Mindanao and Sulu were deceptively included as parts of the Philippine Islands which was supposed to be the only colonial possession of Spain that should have been sold and ceded to the United States in Article III of the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris. As I have over and over again asserted and confirmed by internationally- respected and distinguished historians, researchers, and authors, Mindanao and Sulu were not conquered and colonized by Spain and therefore, were not her territorial possessions which made the sale of these two ancient monarchial states grossly anomalous further aggravated by the fact that they were included surreptitiously as parts of the Philippines Islands only by way of coordinates and without the knowledge and consent of their respective reigning Sultants, Councils of States, and adherents.
Once more I am recapitulating my academic assertion with stronger sense of certainty and confidence that this bizarre commercial and diplomatic transaction between Spain and the United Sates became the powder keg for the outbreak of the secessionist or liberationist struggle in Mindanao and Sulu but seemingly has always been deliberately side-stepped, brushed aside, and or just unceremoniously ignored by those key players and top power wielders and decision makers in the "perpetual ferriswheel-like " peace process between the Government of the Philippines and the two major revolutionary fronts. No wonder, the Peace Process after more than four decades of continually going around in circles, is still in doldrums despite claims of major diplomatic breakthroughs, record-breaking peace building feats, and history-setting legislative acts which in reality only ended up either declared "failed experiment" or "unacceptable" sub- political entities. Even the latest legislative creation, the ARMM, is now irreversibly heading toward the same political graveyard. Mainwhile, the taxpayers are relentlessly being bled dry to sustain a shockingly opulent diplomatic charade.
What made the sale and cession of Mindanao and Sulu highly anomalous? It was because Mindanao and Sulu were not territorial possessions of Spain by virtue of conquest or other means of acquisition and ownership considered lawful at that particular period. As I stated previously, it was grossly a case of one colonial power selling and ceding to another colonial power two monarchial states which the seller country did not own. The lawyers are in the best position to provide the right term of the crime committed in this particular real estate commercial transaction which could easily qualify for the books.
Making the sale and cession of Mindanao and Sulu by Spain to the United States stunningly unimaginable, was the fact that even the erstwhile President of the United States of America (USA), William Mckinley expressed doubts about the sovereignty of Spain,most particularly, over the Sultanate of Sulu, and yet he approved the spurious mercantile deal. To support the veracity of this confused state of mind of President Mckinley, may I quote a distinguished American official and author, Dr. Jacob G. Shurman who became the President of Cornell University and was appointed head of the five-person First Philippine Commission to assist in governing the Philippines, as follows:
"President Mckinley who had entertained doubts as to the sovereignty of Spain over the Sultanate of Sulu, promptly directed that a formal agreement be made with the Sultan." J.G. Shurman, Philippine Affairs: A Retrospect and Outlook, a book published in New York, in 1920 by Scribbers, pages 15-18.
Another world famous American author-historian who confirmed that Spain never acquired sovereignty over Mindanao and Sulu, is quoted, to wit:
"Preparing for their mission, Bates and his staff scoured the Spanish archives in Manila and discovered that Spanish sovereignty had in fact been no more than a myth and a contrived fiction. Of greater significance, it was dubious Spain had ever had the 'right' under international law to cede the lands belonging to the Moros as part of their land holdings in the Philippine Islands." Robert A. Fulton, The American Occupation of Moroland-May 1899 to August 1903, htt://w.w.w.morolandhistory.com/03PG-Amerricans/1.american.htm.
On the basis of the historical fact that Spain failed to conquer, colonize, and Christianize Mindanao and Sulu as confirmed by world-recognized and respected historians and authors, the cession of Mindanao and Sulu by Spain to the United States as parts of the Philippine Islands in Article III of the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris, was conclusively and grossly irregular.