OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana believes that the Philippines should hold a joint probe with China on the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat in the West Philippine Sea, contradicting the position of Foreign Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr.
“Of course, I support it,” Lorenzana said in a text message on Friday, June 21, after being asked about his position on the issue.
Contradiction in the Cabinet: Lorenzana’s position is contrary to that of Locsin, who tweeted on Friday that “there will be NO joint investigation.”
At the same time, the defense secretary’s stand is consistent with President Rodrigo Duterte, whose spokesman Salvador Panelo said he “welcomed” it.
Probe for what? The investigation will pin down the details of what happened on June 9, when a Chinese fishing ship rammed the rear of an anchored Filipino boat near Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea. After the hit, the Chinese vessel sped away, abandoning 22 Filipino fishermen.
The Filipinos were able to survive by rowing towards a Vietnamese fishing boat around 5 nautical miles away and seeking its help.
Why does this matter? As Secretary of National Defense, Lorenzana is one of the officials who will recommend and decide on how the investigation will move forward.
Lorenzana believes the ramming incident was an “accident,” but he contends that the captain and crew of the Chinese vessel should be held accountable. – Rappler.com