MANILA—Sen. Richard Gordon on Saturday said the Philippines could seek the extradition of the Chinese crew who abandoned Filipino fishermen after sinking their boat near Reed Bank.
Gordon said that, besides defying the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Beijing also violated a treaty it made with Manila.
"May extradition treaty tayo d’yan na pwedeng idemanda sa ating bansa ’yan at pagkatapos hingian ng extradition. Pwedeng ihingi ’yan. Pero syempre alam mo naman ang China, sasabihin nila ‘make me'," he told radio DWIZ.
"Ni-ratify ng China ’yan on August 20, 1991. It became effective March 1, 1992. Ang Philippines ni-ratify ’yan October 14, 2003, became effective April 5, 2004. So you can prosecute an offense in our own country."
Gordon said Philippine officials must notify UK-based International Maritime Organization (IMO) to assert its right to extradite the Chinese crew.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier said the Philippine Embassy in London has written to IMO.
China, through its embassy in Manila, belied claims that the fishermen were abandoned and said the captain of its vessel tried to save them but was "afraid of being besieged by other Filipino fishing boats."
Sen. Joel Villanueva, in a statement, urged government to "protect what is rightfully ours."
"Let us always bear in mind that we serve our people, and being workers in government, their well being is our top priority," he said.
"We also caution our officials from dismissing the value of the international community in sensitive diplomatic issues such as this incident."