Trial of PCG men in Taiwanese fisherman’s slay resumes
MANILA, Philippines – After two months, the Batanes Regional Trial Court will resume the trial of the homicide charges against eight members of the Philippine Coast Guard for the death of Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih cheng last May 2013 after a sea chase and confrontation in Balintang Channel.
Trial will resume on Feb. 23 and 24, Defense counsel Rodrigo Moreno said.
“The Court has set the resumption of the hearing on February 23 and another one on February 24 with the prosecution continuing their presentation of their witness,” Moreno said.
Charged with homicide are Commander Arnold Enrique dela Cruz, Seamen1st Class Edrando Quiapo Aguila, Mhelvin Aguilar Bendo II, Andy Gibb Ronario Golfo, Sunny Galang Masangkay and Henry Baco Solomon, Seaman 2nd Class Nikcey Reynold Aurellio and Petty Officer 2 Richard Fernandez Corpuz.
Dela Cruz was the commanding officer of the Coast Guard personnel on board Maritime Control and Surveillance (MCS 3001) ship of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources that intercepted the Taiwanese fishing vessel Guang Da Xing 28 allegedly poaching in the area.
All the accused have pleaded not guilty to the offense.
“The hearing on February 23 and 24 will be a continuation of the prosecution’s presentation of their witnesses and start of cross-examination if ever,” Moreno said.
Moreno said they might cross-examine prosecution’s first witness Hung Yu-chih, the son of the slain fisherman.
Hung testified last November.
The death of the fisherman has for some time strained the relationship of the Philippines and Taiwan.
Taiwanese authorities contended that the PCG personnel have intentionally murdered their compatriot citing the number of bullet holes (45) sustained by the fishing vessel.
The accused claimed they were forced to fire at the Taiwanese fishing vessel in self-defense after it tried to ram the BFAR vessel and refused to stop for boarding inspection despite repeated warning.
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