Wisma Putra (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) has weighed in on a flag-burning incident that gained widespread social media notoriety after the Filipino man at the center of the desecration posted about it on Facebook.
They’ve condemned the burning of our “sacred, national symbol,” and have called his comments “offensive” and accusations “baseless.” Although the incident occurred last month, it picked up online steam over recent days.
Rewind: Elly Pamatong, a Filipino national, and qualified lawyer, is also the founder and leader of a little known organization called the United States of America Freedom Fighters of the East (USAFFE). You can call him President Pamatong, and he’d like to add that he’s the “legitimate President of the Philippines” (sorry, Duterte).
Taking the freshly formed Bangsamoro Organic Law to task, where a recently held Congress of the Philippines voted to create an autonomous region in majority Muslim Mindanao area, Pamatong argues that he’d instead like a new republic created.
In fact, were he to be legitimized, his first executive order would be the creation of the Republic of Bangsamoro, consisting of Sulu island and Malaysia’s very own Sabah. He added that Malaysian presence on Sabah’s soil was nothing more than “a continuing invasion.”
His original post shows the elderly Pamatong surrounded by a band of merry supporters, eagerly watching on as he burns Malaysia’s flag in protest.
Calling on the Philippine government to take “stern action,” Malaysia’s foreign office wants to ensure that such incidents don’t become a trend, saying it could tarnish the good relations shared by the two countries. Manila has assured Putrajaya that they are looking into the matter.
Malaysian social media users haven’t taken the situation too seriously, with many adding their own comments mocking the “President’s” preposterous claims.
Interested in what Pamatong has to say? Intrigued by the USAFFE? Lucky you, he’s taking new recruits.
Described as an anti-Communist paramilitary group, Pamatong has made headlines before: In 2014, he was arrested, accused of sedition. That same year, members of his organization were accused of trying to bomb Manila’s international airport. Three years later, he was in trouble with authorities again, after a pistol, bullets, and grenades were all allegedly found in his possession, all lacking permits. There was also a contempt charge thrown in, for staking claim to the Philippine presidency.
Still interested? Hit him up on FB — by the looks of things, he’s very active.