MANILA - The identity of the fishers of the Chinese vessel involved in the Recto Bank incident is not important, Chief Legal Counsel and President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman Salvador Panelo said Tuesday.
The statement came after Panelo revealed the Chinese crew was not identified by the Philippine Coast Guard and the Maritime Industry Authority which concluded the Chinese vessel failed to avoid a collision with Filipino boat Gem-Ver last June 9.
The report pointed out the Chinese crew "did not perform necessary actions" to avoid the incident. Since Gem-Ver was anchored at the time of the incident, the Chinese crew should have avoided the fishermen's vessel.
China reportedly denied that a Chinese militia was involved in the incident.
Panelo admitted the country has no means of proving if it was Chinese militia who rammed the Filipino vessel because there were no witnesses.
He said Malacañang is only concerned if the Chinese crew was guilty of its actions against the fishermen.
It might take long for the country to file a case against the Chinese vessel since the crew is not yet identified, Panelo said. He added it would be better if China, who has jurisdiction on the Chinese vessel, will be the one to punish the crew. - Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News