China nixes probe 3rd party — Palace

July 01, 2019
Salvador Panelo

CHINA does not want a third party to be involved in the investigation into the ramming of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel in waters off Recto Bank on June 9.

“Sumagot na ang China. Una nag-offer sila ng joint investigation, in-accept ni Presidente tapos may third party. Sabi nila ‘wag na ‘yung third party, kailangan tayo lang ang mag-usap dun,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

Panelo said he got the information from Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Sta. Romana.
He said the Philippines and China should create their respective task groups which would meet and exchange probe results after conducting separate investigations.

“Kung merong separate investigation then let’s meet, mag-create ng task force sa inyo, sa amin and then we exchange our findings and then we decide kung anong gagawin natin dito,” Panelo said.

“Para sa kanila hindi na kailangan ‘yun. Kung magkakasundo na kayo bakit pa kayo mag-third party,” he said.

Panelo said the Philippines could always insist on a third party investigator if two parties failed to agree on the results of the probe.

“E kung hindi magkasundo e, ipipilit natin na mag-third party na tayo. Pero sa ngayon, since okay naman sa kanila, sabi nila there is nothing na hindi natin mapagkasunduan,” Panelo said.

“Kung hindi magkatugma, paano mareresolve... some independent body, it doesn’t have to be a country,” he said.

However, he later changed his word from “insist” to “isa-suggest.”

“Sa tingin ko hindi magkakaroon ng disagreement na serious kasi sinabi na nila na kailangang ma-resolve na ito. Hindi tayo magi-insist, isa-suggest natin, sabi nga nila no need, there is nothing that we cannot resolve,” Panelo said.

He said the matter would be resolved because the task forces only needed to decide on whether the incident was an accident or intentional and who was responsible, and on the abandonment of the Filipino fishermen, who should be accountable and what is the compensation.
“Sa tingin ko kung ‘yun lang ang issue sandali lang malaman sa  imbestigasyon ng dalawa, they can already determine,” Panelo said.

“Pagdating sa accountability sa palagay ko napakadali din nun kung aksidente tapos may diperensiya, hindi ka naging maingat kaya nagkaroon ng aksidente e di liable ka,” he added.

Panelo said he suggested to President Rodrigo Duterte the creation of the task force when they gather for Monday afternoon’s Cabinet meeting.