MANILA (UPDATE)—President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said the Filipino fishing boat that figured in an allision with a Chinese vessel earlier this month was “sideswiped.”
“As a matter of fact, halos kami ngayon agreed na-sideswipe. Tapsingan ba,” Duterte said in a speech at the 122nd anniversary of the Presidential Security Group at Malacañang.
“Hindi talaga ’yung binunggo. Kay kung binunggo, nasa ilalim na ’yun. Nobody . . . kasi na tawag nila parang sasakyan, ’yung pasahero tinamaan. Na-sideswipe. ’Yun ang tawag diyan. Ngayon, sabihin mo sinadya then let us have an investigation.”
Twenty-two Filipino fishermen were left at sea by a Chinese crew after sinking their boat on June 9. They were later rescued by a Vietnamese vessel.
Duterte reiterated that the allision was no reason to go to war against China.
“But that is no reason to go to war. Hindi mo pwedeng sabihin ipadala mo ’yung mga grey ships mo. The grey ships, ’yun ang warship. Bakit ko ipadala doon on a mere maritime? Wala namang saksakan nga, walang barilan. Nadisgrasya lang, iniwan,” he said.
Manila and Beijing have agreed to conduct a joint probe over the incident.
Duterte on Monday, however, raised doubts whether a joint investigation would resolve the issue.
Speaking to reporters, Duterte said he already has the preliminary reports of the Philippine Coast Guard and the Navy on the incident, but is still awaiting the official report.
“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,” Duterte explained.