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Fishing boat captain apologizes to Duterte, clarifies he wasn’t summoned by Palace

/ 01:56 PM June 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The captain of the Filipino vessel involved in the ramming incident in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) apologized Wednesday to President Rodrigo Duterte for mistakenly believing that he was invited to the Palace for a meeting.

Vessel captain Junel Insigne was reportedly supposed to meet with Duterte on Monday.

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Insigne, however, backed out and got off the van traveling to Manila from San Jose town in Occidental Mindoro, according to his brother, Junard.

READ: Fishing boat captain backs out of meeting with Duterte

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During a press conference in Occidental Mindoro, Insigne clarified that it was Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol who wanted to meet with him, together with the vessel’s cook Richard Blaza and vessel owner Ma. Fe Dela Torre.

“Humihingi po ako ng pahumanhin sa ating mahal na Presidente, na hindi po pala ako pinatawag, si Secretary Piñol po ang nagpatawag sa amin. Hindi po ako nakatuloy, umatras po ako dahil masama po yung pakiramdam ko,” Insigne said.

Asked where he heard that he was invited for a meeting at the Palace, Insigne said: “Wala po akong narinig na pupunta po akong Malacañang.”

Piñol said Insigne’s statement of supposedly having a meeting with Duterte was merely a “manufactured statement.”

“In the process of my conversation, I asked [Captain Insigne] because naging viral ‘yung statement niya na hindi daw siya nakipagkita sa Presidente. I asked him, ‘Were you really invited by Malacañang?’ and he said no. He only heard it,” Piñol said.

“So hindi po totoo ‘yung balita mayroong imbitasyon ang pangulo na makipag-usap sa kanya. This was a manufactured statement…. But the captain told me he was never invited,” Piñol added.

Piñol said he also clarified if Insigne was indeed invited for a meeting.

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“Sabi ko dalhin mo nga sa akin yugn may-ari nung bangka. Kaya nga nung nag-meeting kami, nagtanong ako sa Malacañang, ‘Mayroon bang separate invitation?’ Sabi ila wala. BFAR (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources) actually ang nag-imbita sa kanila on my instruction,” he said. (Editor: Julie Espinosa)

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