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The Ruma Bechara of Sulu Sultanate Darul Islam

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In a “Miswarat” or Consultative Assembly conducted by the United Tausug people (UPT) headed by Atty. Meltino J. Sibulan held at the capitol site, Patikul, Sulu, and attended by more than 10 thousand Bangsa Sug people came out with some recommendations for the Ruma Bechara of Sulu Sultaante to take actions. 

During the Legislative Session of the Ruma Bechara of the Sulu Sultanate government held at Amil Tower, Zamboanga City, last April 16,17 and 18, 2011, the members of the Ruma Bechara passed and approved 16 resolution’s which formed parts of the laws of the Sulu Sultanate interim government. Aside from a resolution adopting the implementation of the 2005 revised Constitution of the Sultanate of Sulu Darul Islam, there were other resolutions addressed to the Malaysia federal government on the Sabah settlement issues. The Legislative Session was attended by the 32 members of the Ruma Bechara composed of the Prime Minister, Raja Muda (Crown Prince), 16 royal Datus, 5 Sharifs, 1 Ustadz / Director of Islamic School, 4 Colleges/Universities Professors, and 4 Traditional/ Religious Leaders.

The administration of the Sultanate of Sulu has been misunderstood by historians of Spanish, American and Filipino. While the reigning Sultan is the sovereign head of the state, and the highest ecclesiastical and political authority of the realm, he also head the executive branch of the government. The Ruma Bechara is the legislative branch under the supervisory authority of the Prime Minister, while the judiciary branch is headed by a Grand Mufti as the Deputy of the Sultan. Literally, “Ruma” means house while “Bechara” means conversation. Actually, the Ruma Bechara is the law making body of the government as provided under Article XII, Section 5 of the revised Constitution of Sulu Sultanate. The Sulu Sultanate government place great emphasis on Islamic ideology, hierarchy and authority which are the basis of the traditional Islamic Culture, Muslim Socio-Economic Life and customs practices in the community. 

Based from historical documents, there is no doubt that in the Philippines the Ruma Bechara of Sulu Sultanate was the first organized government Congress, antedating the Malolos Congress by at least four hundred years or four centuries.

The Sultanate of Sulu is unconquered nation. The Bangsa Sug people yielded to the coming of the Americans to their homeland not because of their right to the Sultanate’s territory by virtue of the cession by Spain but on the basis of the Treaty of friendship. This Treaty is known as the Bates Treaty entered into between the United States and the Sultanate of Sulu on August 20, 1899.

The incorporation of the Sultanate of Sulu territories to the Philippine Republic was unlawful, and was done due to the superiority of American arms and with the objection of the Bangsa Sug people. The sovereignty of the Sultanate of Sulu State resides not in any foreign government or political entity but in Bangsa Sug people. The Philippines is a member of the United Nations and must oblige to “respect the principle of self-determination” of the Bangsa Sug people.  

By Datu Albi Ahmad Julkarnain



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