MANILA – Vice President Leni Robredo said the crew of the Chinese vessel that hit the Filipino fishing boat at Reed Bank last week should stand trial in the Philippines.
Robredo said the Department of Foreign Affairs should still “demand from the Chinese government to find those responsible and recognize Philippine jurisdiction, so they can face trial before our courts.”
“Justice for the 22 Filipino fishermen requires that our courts assume jurisdiction,” Robredo said. “That is even if China said that they will investigate the incident on their own.”
Robredo slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for adopting “a less assertive policy” in the country’s territorial dispute with China.
“Its failure to consistently contest Chinese encroachment in our waters was inevitably going to result in less and less respect of our laws and sovereignty from China – and to the direct harm of our people,” Robredo said.
“This is the time where we expect our leaders to be true to their oath and speak, act, and do what is needed to defend the dignity of our nation, and every Filipino,” she added.
Philippine boat captain Junel Insigne slammed a Cabinet official’s remark that the Philippine boat’s sinking may be “accidental” as only part of it was hit by the Chinese vessel.
Since it happened, Duterte has yet to make a public comment. Although Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte was “outraged” by the incident./PN