Monday, June 3, 2013

De Lima: Shooting of Taiwanese fisherman happened on PHL waters

From the Business Mirror (Jun 3): De Lima: Shooting of Taiwanese fisherman happened on PHL waters

THE government maintained on Tuesday that the shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman early last month occurred within the country’s territory, contrary to the claims of Taiwanese officials.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Monday, “there is no doubt that the shooting of Taiwanese Hung Tzu Chien happened within the country’s territory near Batanes,” as she dismissed claims by Taiwan that the incident happened within its territory.
Chien was poaching along with other Taiwanese fishermen when he was shot by Coast Guard personnel after his boat allegedly became belligerent and attempted to ram the Coast Guard boat, rather than leave when they were shooed away by the Coast Guard.
“Our jurisdiction is clear. The incident happened inside our territory which is why we are conducting an investigation,” de Lima told reporters.
She said based on the global positioning system record of the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, that owns MCS 3001, the shooting incident, which happened on May 9, occurred within Balintang Channel.
De Lima said the exact record showed 43 nautical miles east of Balintang Island, which is well within the country’s territory.
Earlier, Taiwan claimed the incident occurred outside Philippine territory as shown by the alleged graph of the Taiwanese fishing vessel’s course. It even went further by claiming that it happened within Taiwan fishing waters.
Taiwan earlier called the shooting of Chien as as “cold-blood murder,” a claim that was belied by the Coast Guard and the Philippine government, as it launched an investigation into the incident.
The incident followed several drastic actions by Taiwan, until it was able to force the Philippine government to hold a parallel investigation.
Taiwan has completed its probe on Friday after its investigators accessed evidence in the hands of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and talked to the involved Coast Guard personnel.
They also examined the firearms of the Coast Guard personnel and inspected the involved Coast Guard boat, which showed marks of the ramming by the Taiwanese fishing boat.
A team of investigators from the NBI also visited Taiwan and talked to the colleagues of the killed Taiwanese fishermen and inspected the involved fishing boat.
De Lima downplayed hints that Taiwan may be attempting to impose its laws on the country.
“Probably you should ask the Taiwanese government why they are conducting their own investigation. They probably have extra-territorial jurisdiction like if the victim is a Taiwanese or the vessel is flying the Taiwanese flag,” she said.
She cautioned everybody, including Taiwan from speculating on the results of the NBI investigation.
But De Lima said there should be no speculation about the outcome of the investigation.
“We should not speculate. We should wait for the report. The video will also be part of the report, what exactly is shown in the video and how it impacts on the conclusion,” she said.
The incident at sea was caught by the Coast Guard on video tape. The video has been watched by Taiwanese authorities.

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