China rejects 3rd party in probe of Recto Bank boat sinking

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 01 2019 03:32 PM

MANILA - China has rejected a third party investigator to probe the June 9 sinking of Filipino fishing vessel F/B GEMVER 1 at the Recto Bank, Malacanang said Monday.

“Ang sabi naman nila (China) 'wag na 'yung third party. Kailangan tayo lang mag-usap doon,” Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said, quoting the June 24 report submitted by Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Sta. Romana.

President Duterte had said that he is okay to have a third party probe the controversial incident, even as he had approved a joint investigation with China. 

“Para sa kanila hindi na kailangan yun. Kasi kung magkakasundo na kayo, bakit pa kayo magti-third party. Oo nga naman,” Panelo said.

“Yung joint investigation ang feeling nila (China) kung meron tayong mga separate investigation then let's meet. Kailangan mag-create ka ng task force, sa 'yo at sa amin, and then we exchange our findings. And then we decide kung ano ang gagawin na natin dito,” he said.

Asked what would happen if both investigations yield conflicting findings, Panelo said: “Eh 'di siguro ipipilit na natin. Hindi na tayo nagkakasundo eh, mag-third party na tayo. Diba?”

“Kasi kung hindi tayo magkakatugma, paano mare-resolve? Some independent body, it doesn't have to be a country, independent body,” he continued.

Panelo however said that he does not expect serious disagreement with China on the results of the probe, as both countries are eager to resolve the issue.

"Unang-una sa tingin ko hindi magkakaroon ng serious disagreements kasi sinabi na rin nila: 'Kailangan ma-resolve na natin ito. Nasisira ang relasyon natin dahil dito, eh. Kailangan ayusin na natin ito,'" he said.

"But I trust, the assurance by the Ambassador of China when they said na they will not allow that. Kung merong irresponsible behavior, they will impose sanctions. Trabaho talaga nila yun. Kasi kung ang may kasalanan eh 'yung Chinese vessel, nasa jurisdiction nila 'yun, gobyerno nila."