NBI, Taiwanese probers to swap evidence
MANILA, Philippines—The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Friday said it would not be able to complete its report on the shooting death of a Taiwanese fisherman last month or proceed with the filing of charges against the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel involved until a counterpart Taiwanese team of investigators sends them a set of authenticated documents from the latter’s own probe of the incident.
Virgilio Mendez, the NBI deputy director for regional services, told a press conference on Friday that the agency has ended its discussions with the Taiwanese probers after holding a series of meetings.
“Discussions were terminated this afternoon and we agreed on some issues like exchange and clarification of evidence collected,” Mendez said.
He described the meetings as “cordial and at the same time passionate”.
But Mendez said the NBI report on its investigation cannot be finished until their Taiwanese counterparts send to the Manila Economic Cultural Office (Meco), the Philippines’ de facto embassy in Taipei, the results of their own investigation, complete with authenticated and translated documents constituting their evidence.
Mendez said they requested for an “official English translation of all documents and results of their physical examination like results of their forensic, ballistics and autopsy examination”.
In return, he said, the Taiwanese probers asked for the “photograph of the video camera recording machine with its memory card of the footage taken by one of the PCG personnel”.
“We were trying to settle how these documents will be transmitted to us, which will be scrutinized and evaluated. And if we will be filing charges, we need these authenticated documents for them to be admissible in court,” Mendez explained.
Aside from the documentary evidence, they also requested for the turnover of physical evidence like the “slugs,” he said.
“The slugs are very crucial ballistics evidence and they are with them. Without the slugs being presented during the trial, this case cannot move,” Mendez said.
The NBI officials said they had also requested for the results of the Taiwanese’s investigation of the bow of the Taiwanese vessel involved, the Guang Ta-Shin 28, where a skid was supposed to have left a mark.
He said the two probe teams had agreed on some issues such as the number of firearms involved in the investigation.
He explained that Taiwan had 22 guns on their list, and the NBI had 15.
“They made a mistake, their figure referred to magazines, not firearms,” Mendez said.
He said the two teams also agreed to identify the holder of the firearm that shot and killed the Taiwanese fisherman on board the vessel.