Saturday, December 15, 2007

Macaskie Dictum of 1939.

In 1939, the heirs of Sultan Jamalul Kiram filed a suit case in the court of Borneo for the purpose of collecting the money due to them under the 1878 Grant. The issue before the court was the identity of the heirs of the sultan who were entitled to receive payments after his death. Through their attorney, they had the only English translation by Maxwell and Gibson (that translated the Grant of 1878 as cessation instead of lease, which is wrong according to a later translation).
It should be recalled, that the Grant in 1878 is in Arabic and is worded in the Malayan language. At the time the lawyer of the heirs filed the case, he had no original copy of the Grant in 1878. The erroneous Maxwell-Gibson translation was the one used, quoted, and paraphrased in the complaint filed by the attorney for the heirs of the Sultan. Years after the Macaskie dictum was made (which translated the Grant as cession instead of lease), the Philippine government had the copy translated into English. According to the result of the translation, the Grant of 1878 was a Lease Agreement. Under this circumstance, the Philippine Government could not accept the dictum of Judge Macaskie. In the judgment, the Grant of 1878 was viewed as a permanent cession or sale, and that the money that is to be paid to the heirs is “cession money.”

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