Sotto backs joint probe of boat sinking with China
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III wants a “full-blown” investigation of the Recto Bank incident and is backing the proposed joint maritime inquiry with China.
“What we can do is we can have our own investigation, and China can do its own investigation,” Sotto said in an interview at the Senate on Friday.
“But for the eyes of the international community, it would be good that there will be a bilateral investigation. OK din yun (It’s OK).”
The joint inquiry was earlier proposed by China after its vessel reportedly hit and sank a Philippine fishing boat, leaving 22 Filipino fishermen at sea.
“To find a proper solution, we suggest a joint investigation at an early date so the two sides can exchange respective initial findings and properly handle the matter through friendly consultations based on mutually recognized investigation results,” Lu Kang, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, said in a statement Thursday.
Sotto explained that he would refrain from commenting on the incident since he believes it was not “international.”
“Because it’s not the government of China who did it. It’s a bunch of fishermen, a bunch of perhaps stupid, silly, without compassion at all group of fishermen,” he said.
“So hindi mo pwedeng sisihin ang isang bansa dahil sa kabulastugan o kagaguhan ng isa o dalawag dosenang mangagawa na ang citizenship ay doon sa bansa na yun (So you cannot pin the blame on a country the action of a dozen or so citizens),” he added.
He said the Philippines would not like it if other nations would also condemn the entire country for the crime of only one of its citizens.
“So I will pursue [it], and I will support a full-blown investigation instead,” Sotto said.
He also agreed that there should be reparations whether the sinking of the Philippine fishing boat was deliberate or an accident.
“Sinadya o hindi dapat may reparations. Yun ang isa sa mga dapat na kalalabasan ng investigation e (Whether [the Recto Bank incident] was deliberate or not, there should be reparations. That’s one of the things that the investigation should determine),” Sotto said. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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