Palace: Gov’t must be rational, not emotional, about Recto Bank incident
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government must be “rational rather than emotional” in dealing with the Recto Bank incident, Malacañang said Tuesday, reacting to the remarks of Sen. Joel Villanueva that the government was “in a state of confusion” over the issue.
In a statement, Villanueva hit how some Cabinet members described the sinking of a Philippine fishing boat by a Chinese vessel as “a collision,” then called it an “allision,” and was later tagged it as a “maritime incident.”
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo called it as a mere clarification.
“When one makes an appropriate description of a circumstance previously mislabelled, one calls that a clarification. What the members of the Cabinet did was simply to clarify the issue as the circumstances previously unknown surrounding the Recto Bank incident begin to unravel,” Panelo said.
The Palace official described those who could not understand the clarification as “intellectually challenged.”
“If after the clarification, the reader cannot still comprehend, then it is his mind which is in a state of confusion as he cannot grasp a simple correction of terminology, or worse he could be intellectually challenged,” he said.
Panelo, who is also the chief legal counsel of President Rodrigo Duterte, reiterated that the Philippines’ sovereignty was non-negotiable.
“The executive’s standpoint has been clear and unequivocal: The issue of sovereignty is non-negotiable. Foremost in our mind is to serve and protect the interest of the Filipino people, including the 22 affected fishermen,” he said.
“Unless and until the basis of our position has been refuted by contrary evidence, our initial position on the matter stands,” he went on.
“Given, however, that attempts to discredit the narrative which initially reached us have been subsequently made, we believe that a fair and impartial investigation is now in order for the government to appreciate the facts of the incident and evaluate its proper course of action on the matter,” added.
“We understand the sentiments of the Filipino people. As a government, however, it must be rational rather than emotional,” he added. “For one, there is no denying that several versions of the incident have cropped up, with even one coming from a member of the crew of the distressed vessel, aggravated by the hysterical outcry of a number of pseudo-nationalists who have politicized and exploited this latest incident to lambast PRRD anew, calculated to trigger public fury and gain media mileage.”
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)
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