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Taipei rebuffs Manila anew

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Justice Secretary Leila De Lima. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

TAIPEI—Taiwan on Wednesday set aside a Philippine request for legal assistance, delaying the completion of Manila’s investigation of the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by Filipino coast guards two weeks ago.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Justice said it declined the Philippine request for the time being because Manila continued to refuse to provide a video of the May 9 encounter between a Philippine coastal patrol vessel and a Taiwanese fishing boat that led to the shooting death of fisherman Hung Shih-chen, 65.

An investigative team from the National Bureau of Investigation was due in Taipei on Thursday to conduct a probe into the shooting, but a source with knowledge of the negotiations between Manila and Taipei for mutual legal assistance confirmed that the Philippine refusal to provide Taiwanese prosecutors a copy of the video caused the suspension of cooperation in the investigation.

An NBI source who asked not to be identified because Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had gagged the investigative team told the Inquirer that the visa applications of the team’s members remained uncleared by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (Teco), Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Manila.

“We are still waiting for the clearance from Teco for the agents to leave for Taiwan,” the source said.

De Lima admitted the delay in the NBI team’s departure, but stopped short of acknowledging the hitch.

“Certain details still have to be ironed out,” she said in a text message to reporters, but did not elaborate.

De Lima did not reply to questions about the Philippine refusal to give the Taiwanese a copy of the video, which she earlier described as “very revealing.”

Cooperation

Philippine and Taiwanese officials agreed on Monday to give each other’s investigators access to evidence and witnesses to establish the circumstances surrounding the death of Hung.

Taiwanese officials agreed to allow an NBI team to travel to Taiwan to inspect Hung’s fishing boat, the Guang Ta Hsin 28, reportedly hit 45 times with high-velocity bullets, and interview the vessel’s crew.

In return, Philippine officials agreed to allow Taiwanese investigators to come to Manila and examine the Philippine Coast Guard-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources vessel, the MCS-3001, which raked Hung’s boat with gunfire, and run the firearms of the coast guards involved through ballistic tests.

De Lima said a new investigative team from Taiwan was expected to arrive “anytime” in Manila.

The team will join the Taiwanese investigators who arrived in Manila last week, she said.

The Philippine and Taiwanese investigations will start “simultaneously,” she added.

According to the NBI source, an official from Pintung county, who is investigating the shooting incident, has arrived in Manila to assist the Taiwanese prosecutors already here in the “proper exchange” of evidence for the investigation.

The China Post identified the official as Pintung head prosecutor Yen-liang.

Negotiations

In Taipei, Eric Chiang, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the Inquirer that no date had been set for the arrival of the NBI team.

“Negotiations are still [going on to resolve] some disagreements,” Chiang said, referring to the Philippines’ balking at the Taiwanese request for a copy of the video of the May 9 incident.

Chiang said Hung’s body remained in a morgue and the funeral had been temporarily set on June 10.

The NBI wants to do a new autopsy to determine how Hung died, for which De Lima said permission from the fisherman’s family might be needed.

De Lima said Manila was standing by its position that the incident happened in Philippine waters, which would be included in the final NBI report.

Asked about Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s statement that the coast guards did not observe the rules of engagement, De Lima said, “Let’s just wait for the NBI report, please.”

Lawyer Harry Roque of the Center for International Law said that under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), the Philippine Coast Guard had no authority to arrest or use force on foreign fishermen for illegally fishing in Philippine waters.

Roque said the convention only allowed a state to apprehend the foreign vessel.

As the coast guards violated the Unclos, the Philippine government should apologize for the killing of Hung and pay compensation to the fisherman’s family, he said.

Premature apology

Roque said the NBI investigation was in order, but questioned why the government issued an apology when it still did not know the full account of the incident.

Taiwan rejected the apology issued last week by President Aquino for referring to the death of Hung as “unintended” and an “unfortunate loss of life.”

“The lesson here is for government spokespersons to keep quiet when it comes to sensitive matters,” Roque said.—With reports from Christine O. Avendaño and China Post/ANN


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Tags: boat incident , Diplomacy , Global Nation , Philippines , shooting , slain Taiwanese fisherman , Taiwan

  • WoBushi

    Taiwan is now thinking of herself bigger than she should. Taiwan leaders must realize that perception on either side is not reality. It’s often nice to have money but to allow money to have a blinding hold on you is never healthy.The middle is actually safer and a lot bigger than the edges.

    • http://www.facebook.com/alfa.saclao Alfa Saclao

      wow…

      • WoBushi

        wow, for what? don’t mumble.

      • http://www.facebook.com/alfa.saclao Alfa Saclao

        wow for the comment offcourse, nice

  • Taguig com

    TAIWANESE STOP STEALING PHILIPPINE SEAFOODS PHILIPPINE TUNAS-

    John Albert Fernando, another Filipino
    worker at the harbor, said the Indonesian crew member of the Guang Ta
    Hsin 28 had told him that the boat was in Philippine waters because he
    had seen “plenty of tuna.”

    “I talked to him, he took his belongings, and then he disappeared,” Fernando said.

    According to Fernando, the Indonesian said Hung was in the engine room during the shooting, but looked out and was hit.

    A team from the Philippines’ National
    Bureau of Investigation has requested permission from the Taiwanese
    government to examine the Guang Ta Hsin 28.

    The boat is docked at Dongcang, cordoned off and covered with tarpaulin.

  • sigena

    bagal mag edit ng video mga taga DOJ

    • $18209031

      Typical delaying tactics to deny justice . Its all too normal in Philppine Justice System, a reminiscent of the Kachila Maestros. its just pure legal play and wrangling designed to curtail justice and manipulate its intended purpose.

      • WoBushi

        Think right, Cebuano-speaking Chinese. I bet you, you didn’t even intend coming to this country in the first place. What do you stand to benefit by constantly maligning your host country? You have all the freedom to move except to stay. Thanks.

  • warillaman

    We should not give in to their bullying, it should be coordination, that is if this taiwanese chinks know how to investigate, this time they are creating fakes more than they could chow, like satellite blips, counting bullet holes instead of the orientation of this holes, where was this 65 year old fisherman killed to be a murder case, what is a 65 year old man doing in a boat poaching?? instead of being with his family and getting a pension, to think taiwan is behaving a rich brat and yet could not afford their old people a pension?? the funny sides of this chinks is, accuse first then investigate later or bully first like their brother chinks in mainland, they should be investigating the skipper of that boat, the other crew members on why they are there poaching, why they are trying to ram an armed coastguard when they already had a warning shot, and still continue to go forward, they cannot be stop with one or two bullets, hence 55 bullets and this time turned around high tailing away!!!
    we should support our coastguard in doing their duty, and taiwanese chinks should let us investigate, taiwanese chinks don’t have any knowhow in investigations and analysis not like our NBI where it is a daily occurance to them.

  • PurpleDaisy13

    The Philippines Administration is on the brink of buckling….

    Taiwan demands to see the raw video NOW. There may not be enough time to edit the raw video in time for release.

    Meanwhile, an International Expert has admitted that the Philippine Coast Guard violated the Laws of the Sea governed by UNCLOS:

    “Roque said the convention only allowed a state to apprehend the foreign vessel.

    As the coast guards violated the Unclos, the Philippine government should apologize for the killing of Hung and pay compensation to the fisherman’s family, he said.”

    • WoBushi

      Bullshit, shut up idiot!

    • MDLANHAM

      Marami ang kumukulo ang dugo sa mga Taiwanese ngayon dahil sa mga pinagsasasabi ng taong ito. Si Purple 13 talaga ang kaaway ng mga Taewanse. Instigator!!!!

  • disqusted0fu

    De Lima is denied again. De Lima previously said that the investigation in Taiwan was already ongoing. Now we know why she couldn’t release any details about it.

    Once you get used to lying, you’re gonna be lying about almost everything.

  • Cyrus Vincent Lopez Tronco

    See Trillanes again is selling us out to the Chinese! What a traitor!!!!!

  • Kaizensigma

    What is the reason Phil refused to release the video? Is it incriminating and proved that the pcg were trigger happy and fled from the scene? Perhaps the editing and photoshopping is not yet done?

  • mountainecho

    Manila would not release the video to Taiwanese investigators but insist on getting their own hands on a second autopsy of the Taiwanese victim?

  • Magkanoka?

    Secretary De Lima, masyado ka kasing madaldal at pinag iisip ang mga Taiwanese tungkol sa revealing video tape mo na yan. Sana hindi ka na lang nagbanggit ng patungkol dito. Di mo rin pala mailabas. Puro kaartehan pa kasi. Bakit hinahayaan nyong papasukin ang mga Taiwanese investigator sa atin samantang ang mga NBI ay inaantala ang Visa nila? Yan ba ang tinatawag nyong Cooperation? Nadidiktahan na kayo Madam secretary na hindi nyo namamalayan pero nagmamatigas kayo sa maling kaparaanan. Mag isip muna kayong mabuti bago magsalita at maraming matang nakatutok dito. Remember this madam secretary . . . Only the truth will set us free!



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