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Parallel not joint probe

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It will be a parallel probe done separately by the Chinese and the Philippine governments and not a joint investigation as earlier stated by the Palace on the Recto Bank collision that endangered the lives of 22 Filipino fishermen.

Separate investigations will determine the facts behind the recent incident near Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Friday.

“There will be no joint investigation. China and Philippines will conduct their respective investigations,” Locsin said in a social media post.

The statement comes after the Chinese Foreign Ministry proposed “a joint investigation at an early date” to enable an exchange of initial findings between the two sides.

Locsin got Palace backing
When asked about Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra’s statement that both sides have indicated willingness to conduct a joint inquiry, Locsin reiterated his view on the proposal.

“DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) will act on my view and no one else’s. I talked to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea; Palace supports me,” he said.

“That’s that. Also, I listen only to the DND (Department of National Defense) and the NSA (National Security Adviser). This is a matter beyond civilian agencies’ remit and falls well within the DFA’s, DND’s and NSA’s,” he said.

There will be no joint investigation. China and Philippines will conduct their respective investigations

Not intentional
On 9 June, the Filipino fishing boat Gem-Ver1 was clipped by a Chinese trawler that led to its capsizing and which resulted in the boat’s 22 crew members floundering in the water for several hours until they were rescued by a Vietnamese fishing boat.

The Palace, while indicating that it is holding off any conclusion pending the release of the results of the probe on the incident, nevertheless, accused the Chinese boat crew of abandoning the Filipino fishermen at sea.

The Chinese Embassy, in a statement, explained that the incident was not intentional and that the Chinese vessel tried to rescue the Filipinos but were allegedly besieged by other Philippine boats.

Better than stuck
Malacañang, which has sought enhanced ties with China despite the unresolved dispute, has downplayed the incident as a maritime accident.

In a separate interview, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that a possible joint investigation by the Philippines and China on the sinking of a Filipino boat in disputed waters will help open communication lines with Beijing and serve justice to the ship’s crew.

In a televised interview, Nograles said that the joint inquiry — which was proposed by China — is “better than being stuck.”

“This joint investigation will also help us in terms of communicating with the Chinese government on how we will attain justice for our fishermen,” said Nograles.

Nograles also noted that President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier statement that it was a maritime incident would not affect investigations.

“I think what the president said in his speech was in the context for us not to be jumping into conclusion that this was state sanctioned by the Chinese government,” he said.

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