Duterte OK with no third party in probe of boat sinking
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is okay with having no third party on the probe of the July 9 sinking of a Filipino boat at the Recto Bank.
“Eh okay na okay, ‘yung Presidente. Basta lang tapusin na natin ‘to,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing Tuesday.
Panelo responded when asked about the President’s reaction to China’s rejection of a third-party investigator on the boat sinking.
“Magkasundo na tayo kasi simpleng-simple lang naman ang issue nga. I will repeat, the issue is very simple: Is it accidental, intentional? Sino ba ang may kasalanan? Bakit niyo iniwan ang mga ano? Ano nga yung gagawin niyo sa mga iniwan niyo kung kasalanan niyo, ‘di ba? Ganon lang kasimple yun,” Panelo said.
During the Cabinet meeting on Monday night, Panelo said the President also ordered the Cabinet to raise the Recto Bank incident during the Philippines bilateral meeting with China.
“[T]he Cabinet discussed the Recto Bank incident where PRRD told the Cabinet that the incident can be discussed during the bilateral meetings with China,” he said.
Manila and Beijing have a Bilateral Consultative Mechanism (BCM)l, a venue where Manila and Beijing discussed specific issues and development in the South China Sea.
Panelo earlier said the Chinese government was “seriously” and “thoroughly” probing the incident. But China has yet to release the result of their investigation.
Duterte had said he wanted earlier a third party investigation on the sinking of the Filipino boat but China has refused the involvement of a third party.
Duterte has drawn a sharp public rebuke for allegedly siding with China in the Recto Bank incident, even saying that the Philippines could not ban Chinese fishermen in trawling in Manila’s exclusive economic zone.
He has downplayed the incident as just a “little maritime accident,” saying the Filipino boat was not sunk but merely “sideswiped,” in what he said was a normal occurrence in the open sea.
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