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Locsin: There cannot be a joint probe on Recto Bank incident 

/ 03:21 PM June 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. dismissed the possibility of a joint investigation on the Recto (Reed) Bank incident which left 22 Filipino fishermen at sea for hours after a Chinese vessel reportedly rammed their anchored fishing boat.

This after Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said he is considering the idea of suggesting to the President a joint probe on the incident.

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READ: Joint PH-China probe on ramming incident at Recto Bank a possibility — Panelo

However, the foreign affairs chief said “there cannot be a joint investigation.”

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“First principle of justice: no one can be judge of his own case,” he said over Twitter late Tuesday.

“A joint investigation trenches on each other’s sovereignty,” Locsin further said in a separate tweet.

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The country’s top diplomat instead suggested that “each side” conduct “separate investigations.”

“[D]ifferences discussed by the two sides. If both sides [are] satisfied, each side issues its conclusions hopefully the same. That fosters better bilateral relations,” he added.

It was on June 12 when the incident that transpired at Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea was reported.

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READ: China fishing vessel sinks Filipino boat after ‘collision’ in West Philippine Sea

In an earlier statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana strongly condemned what he called a “cowardly action” of the Chinese fishing vessel and its crew after they abandoned the 22 Filipino fishermen following the incident.

According to the captain of the Filipino boat, the Chinese vessel had deliberately rammed their boat.

“Pagbangga sa amin binalikan kami at inilawan. Nung nakita kaming lubog na tinakbuhan po kami (After they hit us, they even went back to make sure that our boat was submerged before they left),” Junel Insigne, boat captain of F/B Gem-vir, said on live television last week.

 

READ: Captain of sunken PH boat: ‘The Chinese did it’

However, the Chinese Embassy in Manila denied that there had been an incident of a “hit-and-run” and claimed that the Chinese fishing vessel was suddenly “besieged” by seven or eight Philippine fishing boats.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry also called the reported ramming as an “ordinary maritime accident” while President Rodrigo Duterte tagged it as a “little maritime incident.” (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)

 

READ: Duterte: Sinking of PH fishing boat ‘a little maritime accident’

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