Sereno: Use all legal means to reject PH-China probe on Recto Bank case
MANILA, Philippines — Former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said all legal means must be used to disallow the proposed joint investigation on the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel at Recto (Reed) Bank in the West Philippine Sea.
“The Filipino people should not tolerate any proposed Joint Probe by the Governments of both China and the Philippines on what happened to our 22 Mindoro fishermen. That means we should take all lawful means to register our objection,” Sereno said in a statement on Friday.
“What is needed now is to employ all peaceful means – prayers, petitions, letters, lobbying with legislators, discussion fora, organized mass actions – to fight for Filipino honor,” she added.
This was after China proposed a joint probe with the Philippines on the June 9 incident, which also left 22 Filipino fishers in the open sea. The Chinese vessel reportedly abandoned the Mindoro fishermen at sea after ramming their boat at Recto Bank.
Presidential spokesperson and chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte welcomes China’s proposal.
Sereno likewise lamented the downplaying of the alleged “hit-and-run incident” by China and the Duterte government. She said dismissing the deplorable episode “as a mere maritime accident with no intent to harm offends all sense of fair play.”
For Sereno, the Duterte administration should have considered the “firsthand accounts of Filipino fishermen before Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and policemen beleaguered the victims of the Reed Bank incident” as well as the “Philippine Navy professional assessment and accounts of rescuing Vietnamese fishermen.”
In a report, the Vietnamese boat captain recounted how they rescued the 22 abandoned Filipino fishers which corroborated the stories of the Mindoro fishermen on how they tried to stay afloat for hours after the ramming incident before Vietnamese fishermen saved them. (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)
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