Taiwan agrees with NBI on homicide charges vs PCG personnel, officers

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07:03 PM August 8th, 2013

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By: Matikas Santos, August 8th, 2013 07:03 PM

Chen Wen-chi (left), from Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice of the Department of International and Cross-Strait Legal Affairs, listens as Chen Ming-tang, deputy minister of Taiwan’s Justice Ministry, speaks while holding a picture showing a bullet found in the fishing vessel after it was attacked by Philippine coastguards, killing a Taiwanese fisherman, during a press conference in Taipei. AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Taiwan has expressed its agreement with the investigation report of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) shooting incident that recommended the filing of homicide charges against those responsible for the death of a Taiwanese fisherman last May.

“The Taiwanese government expresses affirmation of this recommendation as a constructive response to the incident,” Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement Thursday after the NBI released its findings.

“Taiwan hopes to see the case appropriately resolved through the Philippines’ positive and concrete response to its four demands, thus returning bilateral ties to normal,” it said.

Taiwan demanded an apology from the Philippine government, as well as compensation for the family of the slain fisherman, Hong Shi-cheng.

It also called for an investigation and subsequent prosecution of those responsible and bilateral talks to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.

NBI Director Nonnatus Rojas said in a press conference Wednesday that they are recommending homicide charges against eight PCG personnel and four officers for obstruction of justice because they tampered with the evidence.

The incident took place last May 9 when the PCG encountered the Taiwanese fishing boat Guan Ta Hsin 28 off the Balintang Island in waters claimed by both the Philippines and Taiwan.

The PCG claimed the Taiwanese boat had intruded into Philippine waters and refused to stop even after being warned several times. The PCG also claimed that the Taiwanese boat had attempted to ram their ship prompting them fire at it in self-defense.

NBI however said there was no evidence of the attempted ramming and that the PCG personnel had “wrongfully applied” deadly force since there was no imminent threat.

“The Taiwanese government has taken a proactive, firm and rational approach in ongoing talks with the Philippine government to obtain justice for the victim’s family, protect the interests of fishermen and defend the country’s dignity and position regarding the incident,” MOFA said in its statement.

“Amadeo Perez Jr., chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office, said he will visit Taiwan on behalf of President Benigno Aquino III to provide a full account of the efforts the Philippine government has made regarding the case, in the hopes of mending Taiwan-Philippine relations,” it said.

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