Critics using Recto Bank incident to show ‘nationalism’: Palace

MANILA The Recto (Reed) Bank incident is being used by critics of the administration to show their pretended nationalism, MalacaAang said Friday.

"The Reed Bank incident is being dressed with misplaced emotionalism and pretended nationalism by those who are bent on (politicizing) an otherwise ordinary navigation incident into an international fracas," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel, said the Philippine government remains firm in invoking its "non-negotiable" sovereignty in the international community.

"They (critics) hope to succeed in getting the approbation of the nation on a misguided theory that the Administration is pursuing a foreign policy of subservience to China, a belief that is both wrong and unacceptable," he said.

Panelo also dismissed Senator Panfilo Lacson's recent remarks where he was quoted as saying that Panelo is speaking like a defense counsel for China.

The Palace official said that as a lawyer, he has been trained to dissect a situation, arrive at an intelligent and rational study of the whys and wherefores of a subject of an inquiry.

"The perception that my pointing out of certain circumstances surrounding the Reed Bank incident previously unknown to us, creates the impression that I'm acting as China's counsel, is sheer non sequitur, as well as a shallow analysis of my examination of the incident," he said.

Panelo said both the Philippines and China must ascertain the truth of the incident and proceed to put the conflict to rest.

"We maintain our stand that regardless of the nature of the allision, we condemn the uncivilized and inhuman act of abandoning the Filipino fishermen, thereby putting them into the precipice of extinction after their vessel submerged. There must be accountability and compensation," he said.

About midnight of June 9, a Chinese vessel reportedly hit and abandoned an anchored Filipino fishing boat with 22 fishermen on board near the Recto Bank in the disputed West Philippine Sea.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila denied the abandonment, saying the Chinese captain tried to rescue the Filipino fishermen but was afraid of being besieged by other Filipino fishing boats." (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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