Palace: China rejected third party probe on sinking of Filipino boat
MANILA, Philippines — China has refused a third party investigation on the June 9 sinking of a Filipino boat at Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, adding that China is standing by its earlier proposal of a joint investigation.
“Ang sabi nila ‘di ba una, nag-offer sila ng joint investigation. Tapos in-accept ni Presidente, tapos may third party. Ang sabi naman nila ‘wag na yung third party, kailangan tayo lang mag-usap doon. ‘Yan ang recent,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing on Monday.
Panelo said the information was relayed to Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Sta. Romana after the diplomat talked to Beijing’s Foreign Ministry.
Duterte had earlier said he was okay with having a third party investigation even as he agreed on a Philippines-China probe on the sinking of the Filipino boat.
China had earlier proposed a joint marine inquiry with the Philippines to look into the June 9 incident at Recto Bank.
“‘Yung joint investigation ang feeling nila kung meron tayong mga separate investigation then let’s meet. Kailangan mag-create ka ng task force, sa’yo at sa amin, and then we exchange our findings. And then we decide kung ano ang gagawin na natin dito,” Panelo said.
“Para sa kanila hindi na kailangan ‘yun (third party). Kasi kung magkakasundo na kayo, bakit pa kayo magti-third party. Oo nga naman,” he added.
But what if Manila and Beijing won’t agree on their findings?
“Eh ‘di siguro ipipilit na natin. Hindi na tayo nagkakasundo eh, mag-third party na tayo. ‘Di ba?” he said.
“Kasi kung hindi tayo magkakatugma, paano mare-resolve? Some independent body, it doesn’t have to be a country, independent body,” he added.
A Chinese trawler rammed a Filipino boat and left 22 Filipino fishermen at sea on the night early June.
But Duterte had downplayed the incident as just a “little maritime accident,” saying the Filipino boat was not sunk but merely “sideswiped” – a normal occurrence in the open sea.
Panelo said a mere apology from China won’t be enough if proven that the Chinese vessel rammed and abandoned the Filipino fishermen in the open sea.
“Hindi pupwede ‘yun. Siyempre… But I trust, the assurance by the Ambassador of China when they said na they will not allow that,” he said.
“Kung merong irresponsible behavior, they will impose sanctions. Trabaho talaga nila ‘yun. Kasi kung ang may kasalanan eh ‘yung Chinese vessel, nasa jurisdiction nila ‘yun, gobyerno nila,” he added. (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)
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