PH to insist 3rd party Recto Bank probe if results don’t match

MANILA -The Duterte government will insist' on a third-party investigation if both the Philippines and China are unable to reconcile their findings on the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat after it was rammed by a Chinese vessel in the Recto Bank on June 9, MalacaAang said on Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark after baring that Chinese government has rejected the proposal of the Philippines to include a third party noting that it was not necessary if the two countries could agree to resolve the issue by themselves.

Siguro ipipilit na natin. Di tayo nagkakasundo, mag-third partytayo (Perhaps we will insist. If we cannot agree, we should include a third party), Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.

Kung hindi tayo magkakatugma, paano mare-resolve (If our findings are not compatible, how will we able to resolve it?) Some independent body, it doesn't have to be a country, he added.

Panelo said he learned about China's stand to reject a third party in its joint investigation on Sunday (June 30) after Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana had a talk with the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Sumagot na raw ang China. Ang sabi naman nila, 'wag na yung third party, kailangan tayo lang mag-usap doon (China has already responded. They say, 'there's no need for a third party. Let's just discuss it among ourselves),' Panelo said.

Ang feeling nila, kung meron tayong mga (China feels that if we already have) separate investigation then let's meet we exchange our findings and then we decide kung anong gagawin na natin dito (how we are going to reconcile this), he added.

Panelo said the issue is as simple as finding out whether the alleged ramming and abandonment of Filipino fishing boat with 22 fishermen on board by a Chinese vessel was done intentionally or accidentally.

Kung yun lang ang issue ang dali lang malaman (If that's the only issue, it's easy to find out) if it was an accident or not, Panelo said.

Panelo expressed confidence that the two countries will be able to reconcile their different findings.

He said Duterte is fine by any method -with or without a third party.

Diba sinabi ni Presidente, okay sa'kin lahat 'yan basta gusto ko matapos na 'yan at malaman na natin kung sino accountable. Okay lang sa kanya walang third party (Remember, the President said he's fine with anything, what he wants is that investigation is concluded and we find out who is accountable), Panelo said.

Panelo said if proven that Chinese crews are indeed guilty of ramming and abandoning the Filipino fishing boat, Chinese government will hold them liable.

I trust the assurance of the Ambassador of China (Zhao Jianhua), they will not allow that. Kung merong (If there is) irresponsible behavior, they will impose sanctions, Panelo said.

The Philippine government has already filed a diplomatic protest against China in relation to the alleged abandonment of Filipino fishermen at sea.

The Chinese embassy in Manila, for its part, explained that while the Chinese captain tried to rescue the Filipino fishermen at sea, they were afraid of being besieged by other Filipino fishing boats and only fled after they had been rescued by a Vietnamese fishing boat. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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