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'He knows what he's doing'

Arroyo to back Duterte’s decision on joint probe of Recto Bank incident

/ 02:01 PM June 21, 2019
Duterte welcomes PH-China probe on sinking of boat at Recto Bank

PROOF OF COLLISION Photo shows the damaged fantail of the fishing boat Gem-Vir 1 after it was salvaged by Philippine Navy divers at Recto Bank in the South China Sea. The boat was hit from behind by a Chinese vessel on June 9, 2019. —PHILIPPINE NAVY PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Outgoing House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is backing whatever decision President Rodrigo Duterte will make on China’s proposal for a joint probe into the ramming incident in the West Philippine Sea, saying the Chief Executive “knows what he’s doing.”

The former President added Friday that she and Duterte share the same outlook of wanting to be friends with China while promoting the country’s national interest.

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“I’ve already said in general, on this matter I support President Duterte because he knows what he’s doing and he wants to be friends with China and at the same time, of course, he is also promoting the national interest which is also my attitude,” Arroyo said in an interview after awarding 200 titles to urban poor housing beneficiaries at the National Government Center in Quezon City.

“We want to be friends with China but the parameters must be national interest. That is the same parameter the President is espousing. So I support fully whatever will be his action,” the Pampanga 2nd District representative said.

Lu Kang, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, on Thursday said China proposed a joint marine inquiry with the Philippines to look into the sinking of a Philippine fishing boat with 22 fishermen by a Chinese vessel in Recto Bank (Reed Bank) last June 9.

READ: China proposes joint probe of PH boat sinking

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President “welcomes” this suggestion, adding that they would await a formal communication from the Chinese Embassy.

READ: Duterte welcomes PH-China probe on sinking of boat at Recto Bank

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. however said the Palace is supporting his opposition to the joint investigation.

READ: Palace backs my stand against joint probe on Recto Bank incident – Locsin

“First principle of justice: no one can be [the] judge of his own case,” Locsin said. “A joint investigation trenches on each other’s sovereignty.”

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

Duterte had dismissed the incident as a “little maritime incident,” almost similar to Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang’s remark that the boat ramming was “an ordinary maritime traffic accident.” (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)

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