No need to know if vessel in Recto Bank incident is China maritime militia—Palace
MANILA, Philippines — There is no need for the Philippine government to ascertain whether the Chinese vessel that rammed a Philippine boat on June 9 was a maritime militia vessel or just a commercial fishing boat.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the government was more interested in rendering justice to the 22 fishermen abandoned in the West Philippine Sea by Chinese fishermen.
“Hindi na (Not anymore),” Panelo said in a Palace briefing Tuesday when asked if the government was still interested to find out whether or not the Chinese boat that rammed the Filipino boat near the Recto Bank was a maritime militia vessel.
“We are interested to render justice to the fisher folks that have been abandoned there,” he added.
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said there was no way for the Philippine government to determine whether the Chinese boat was a maritime militia vessel.
“Ang problema, we cannot even—how can we determine that? Ni walang testigo. Actually, they were just guessing na Chinese vessel – buti nga inamin. Gabi, madilim, paano mo malalaman kung ano man… kung armado iyon o hindi,” he said.
The Palace official cited that Beijing already said that the Chinese boat that hit the Filipino vessel was not a maritime militia.
“Sinabi na nga ng China, Chinese vessel eh. Eh kayo naman… Ano pang ibig sabihin? ‘Di ibig sabihin, hindi militia – ‘yon ang sabi nila,” he said.
“Mas interesado tayo na iyong ginawa nila sa Pilipino eh panagutan nila – iyon ang pinaka-importante sa amin,” he added.
The result of the official joint investigation report of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) showed that the sinking of the Filipino boat was a “very serious marine casualty.”
Duterte earlier described the sinking of a Filipino boat as a “little maritime accident.” (Editor: Julie Espinosa)
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