'Tabla rin': Duterte doubts joint probe on Reed Bank incident would resolve issue

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 24 2019 10:05 PM | Updated as of Jun 24 2019 10:53 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday raised doubts whether a joint investigation with the Chinese government on the June 9 Reed (Recto) Bank incident would lead into a resolution on the issue.

Speaking to reporters, Duterte said that he already has the preliminary reports of the Philippine Coast Guard and the Navy on the incident, but is still awaiting for the official report.

“If they want another investigation, payag man ako or they can always also investigate on their own and we can confront each other with evidence,” the President said during the premiere of the movie "Kontradiksyon" in a mall in Ortigas.

“Alam mo kung ako, it’s always biased, even if it’s not. Kung kanila namang report, it will always be according to the theory of the incident. So sa atin it’s prejudiced. So wala ding mangyari, bale tabla rin,” he explained.

Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier said in a statement that Duterte “welcomes and accepts the offer of the Chinese government to conduct a joint investigation.” This, Panelo said, is “to determine what really transpired in Recto Bank and find a satisfactory closure to this episode.”

The Palace spokesman said that President Duterte “wants the creation of a joint investigating committee that shall be composed of three groups of highly qualified and competent individuals, with Philippines and China having one representative each, and a third member coming from a neutral country.”

The Chief Executive however said that both governments can bring the incident into a maritime board for investigation.

“Well if it’s going to be a marine board or inquiry, whatever satisfies the requirement of fair play and due process,” Duterte said.

“Due process that everybody should be heard. Fair play is there is no one under suspicion of siding with the other and you can only do that kung may board kayo na… kasi pag kanila lang, then we compare, which will always be contradictory I suppose, then that can be presumed, edi walang mangyari, parang walang insidente,” he said.