PH, Taiwan iron out details of probe; NBI team off for Taipei Monday

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Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

TAIPEI—Did Taiwan set new conditions for helping the Philippines investigate the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by Filipino coast guards? Or did Taipei simply try to clarify the rules of cooperation between Taiwanese and Filipino investigators?

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Sunday denied Taiwan had set new conditions, but Manila Economic and Cultural Office (Meco) Chairman Amadeo R. Perez maintained his statement on Saturday that new terms had been set and that these would be disclosed Monday.

At any rate, an eight-member team from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) leaves for Taipei Monday morning to begin the last phase of the Philippine investigation of the shooting death of fisherman Hung Shih-chen, which has sparked a major diplomatic row between Manila and Taipei.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (Teco), Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Manila, issued visas to the team’s members late last week after the Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed to Taipei’s request for access to a video of the encounter between Hung’s boat and a Philippine Coast Guard patrol vessel off Balintang Island in northern Philippines on May 9.

But Perez told the Inquirer on Saturday that Taiwan imposed new conditions and that these had been forwarded to the DOJ for action.

Meeting the new conditions could delay the NBI team’s departure for Taiwan, Perez said.

“There are no new demands from Taiwan,” De Lima told the Inquirer in a text message on Sunday. “The NBI team will leave for Taiwan (Monday morning).”

De Lima said the matter involved “ironing out details” of the agreements between the two sides.

“As I’ve previously mentioned, certain details had to be ironed out, including itineraries of both the Philippine and the Taiwanese teams,” she said.

“There were also written exchanges of lists of requested evidence and agreed parameters of evidence sharing,” she added.

Malacañang and another Meco official on Sunday also said Taiwan did not set new conditions for giving legal assistance to the NBI team.

“I checked that with the secretary of justice, and the reply of Secretary Leila de Lima to me was that there were no new conditions. She also informed me that they were just firming up several—certain—details of the visit by both sides,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on state-run radio.

Clarification only

Meco permanent representative Antonio Basilio said Taiwan was merely clarifying procedures for the various stages of the investigation involving, among other steps, ballistics and forensics.

“Otherwise, it looks like they already have an agreement,” Basilio told the Inquirer by phone. “I don’t see any more impediments to [the NBI team’s] departure.”

It appears that Perez understands the clarification of procedures as conditions.

He said the new conditions were related to the conduct of the investigation.

“The reply of the Department of Justice had been forwarded to the Department of Foreign Affairs for their action,” Perez told the Inquirer by phone.

‘New requests’

A source who had knowledge of the negotiations between Meco and Teco said Taiwan had “new requests,” but that these had already been acted upon by the DOJ.

The source, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists, said the DOJ sent a parcel to the Meco office in Manila on Saturday afternoon. The parcel contained the DOJ’s reply to the “new requests” of Taiwan.

Asked what the “new requests” were, the source said, “I have no idea.”

The source said Taiwan’s new requests had not been resolved, but the Taiwanese government gave clearance to the NBI team to travel to Taipei just the same.

The source said the NBI team was expected to arrive in Taipei before noon Monday.

Taiwanese Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang will meet with Filipino journalists in Taipei on Monday afternoon.

He is expected to discuss the “new conditions” or “new requests” set by the Taiwanese government for cooperating in the NBI’s investigation of Hung’s death.

Photocopies only

Perez clarified his statement on Saturday that Teco had issued visas to the members of the NBI team.

He said Teco released only photocopies of the team members’ stamped passports.

“The passports of the agents with visas are still with Teco. They have not released them,” he said.

Perez offered no explanation for Teco’s withholding the NBI agents’ passports.

The NBI team wants to examine Hung’s boat, the Guang Ta Hsin 28, which Taiwanese investigators said had taken 45 hits from the Philippine patrol vessel MCS-3001.

No new autopsy

Twenty-four of the hits were on the boat’s cabin, suggesting the coast guards aimed high, although the high hits could be explained by the two vessels’ alternating movements over crests and out of troughs.

The NBI agents also want to interview the fishing boat’s crew and do a new autopsy to determine how Hung died.

In an interview with the Inquirer on Friday, Hung Tzu-chen, a daughter of the slain fisherman, said her family would not allow a new autopsy.

Information from the Taiwan phase of the probe will complete the NBI’s investigation of Hung’s death.

Eleven coast guards and two Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources employees have been relieved while the government awaits the results of the investigation.

Taiwan has demanded, among other things, the punishment of the shooters, compensation for Hung’s family and a formal apology from the Philippine government.—With reports from TJ A. Burgonio and Christine O. Avendaño in Manila

Originally posted: 10:54 pm | Sunday, May 26th, 2013

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  • http://information555.blog94.fc2.com/ xfileFC2

    Meron tayong FBI…. I mean NBI…. Bakit wala tayong Katulad sa US na CIA…….. I think sa US, FBI=internal…. CIA=external….. sana po magtayo ang government natin ng katumbas sa CIA or NSA ng US…… para mabantayan po ang interest ng Pilipinas……. Para mabantayan ang mga gustong sumira sa Pilipinas na mga bansa………

    “Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit.”

    William Pollard

    • opinyonlangpo

      Nobody in the leadership reached that level of thinking, they are up to level of pork barrel only.

    • Meow Ming

      Meron po kaya lang sa US embassy nagrereport.

  • banana na

    sana sa next week ay maka-lipad na sila, mas maganda ang mas maaga examine ang barko baka sa sobrang tagal ay mabuulok na ang mga evidence nito….

    • reddfrog

      Hindi naman siguro. it’s a boat, not a banana. Hehehe!

      • banana na

        haaa…..

  • juan_luisjr

    May they get to the bottom of the truth and both parties will have the courage and responsibility to accept the truth. Good luck and God speed to the nbi team .

  • reddfrog

    As usual, miscommunication between Justice Secretary and MECO. Bumbling idiots!

  • jseesus

    O ANO MGA FLIPNOIDS, NANIWALA NA KAYO NA PURO KAYO MGA STUPID MONKEYS.. ALA NA PAGASA ANG LAHI NINYO.. DAPAT SA INYO “GENOCIDE”…. HEHEH…

    Philippines Named ‘Most Stupid Country to Elect a 20-Year OJT as a Senator’ by Time Magazine

    MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has been named as Time’s “Most STUPID Country to Elect a 20-Year OJT as a Senator”.
    “The overwhelming victory of a self-professed on-the-job trainee-cum-Sen­ator in the recently held election in the Philippines cemented the country’s fate,” wrote Time’s news director Marilou C. Martin.

    She added, “Falling for the diversionary tactics of an inexperienced candidate that saw her steer the issue away from her credibility to her skin complexion to make herself look like the underdog; gave us no choice but to bestow such title to a country, who was destined for greatness before the elections.”
    “And yes, we intentionally all-capped the word stupid for added emphasis,” according to Martin.

    Time gave special attention to the country’s 11,789,643 registered voters (as of press time) who voted for Nancy Binay, as contributing to the country’s “overall stupidity rating index”.
    “These are probably the same 11,289,648 people who had no access to the internet to witness the criticism their bet received for her lack political background or experience.”

    The magazine didn’t wait for Comelec’s final and official number of votes Binay received before coming out with the latest issue saying that, “The amount of gullibility and the unprecedented level of idiocy forced us to go to press immediately.”
    The article also noted that the country’s saving grace, namely its recent credit rating upgrade, Manny Pacquiao, Jessica Sanchez or Jada Pinkett-Smith asking for a copy of Jericho Rosales’ film did not help one bit.

    “Those are only minor achievements as compared to the repercussions the sheer amount of stupidity the recent actions of the Filipino people entails.”
    “It’s these kind of situations that not even Lou Diamond Philips winning the Oscars or the Philippines winning the next Miss Universe can help with your country’s image,” said Martin.
    All is not lost however, according to political analyst Mak Jendoza.

    Ladies and gentlemen, your future Mayor, Vice Mayor, President, First Lady, Pope and Vice President.
    “Andyan na yan eh, ano pa magagawa natin (She’s already there, what else can we do)?” said Jendoza. “Siguraduhin nalang natin na hindi na mauulit ito pagdating ng 2016 (We just have to make sure that we shall not repeat this same mistake come 2016).”

    “Abe eh kung maging presidente ang tatay nyan at madagdagan pa ng isang kapatid sa Senado sa 2016, baka pati ang United Nations hirangin na din tayong mga inutil (If ever her dad became president and another one of her sibling became a senator in 2016, even the United Nations shall name us stupid),” warned Jendoza.

    “I can’t say that I’m proud of this recent ‘achievement’ of our country,” said Johnny Manuel Ebola after learning about the magazine cover. “But at least I’m proud to say that I’m not one of those 11,789,643 nincompoops!”

  • disqusted0fu

    The PH is always on the losing end when it comes to foreign affairs because other countries are just going circles around the Aquino government. And since Pnoy doesn’t want to ruin his image, he will just give them what they want.

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