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NBI final report on Balintang shooting submitted to PNoy

In this May 28 file photo, Taiwanese investigators rides a rubber boat as they inspect a ship involved in the alleged shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman while they continue their probe in Manila, Philippines. AP PHOTO/AARON FAVILA

MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima announced Thursday that the National Bureau of Investigation's (NBI) final report on the Taiwanese fisherman's fatal shooting off Bataan province last May 9 has been submitted to President Benigno Aquino III.

De Lima said that the report was submitted to the President after the results of the NBI probe were consolidated with the findings of the Taiwanese team's investigation.

She confirmed in a television interview that the NBI recommends the filing of criminal charges against the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel for the death of 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-Cheng.

De Lima said that the NBI also recommends the filing of charges against the personnel of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources who, together with PCG, manned the MCS-3001 ship when its crew fired at the Taiwanese fishing vessels off Balintang Channel last May 9.

She said that administrative charges will also be filed against government officials, whom she failed to identify.

She clarified that the NBI's recommendations and findings were not due to Taiwanese pressure.

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The Philippines earlier claimed that the incident happened within its territory while Taiwan said that the shooting occurred in the overlapping exclusive economic zones of the two countries.

The NBI completed the report on Thursday and submitted it to the justice department, which subsequently passed the report to President Aquino. The justice secretary said that she has already given her recommendations on the report to Aquino.

De Lima said that the report contains the names of the PCG personnel involved in the shooting incident.

She said that she was still waiting for Aquino's clearance for the full public disclosure of the report.

The NBI, meanwhile, said that Taiwan has asked for a copy of the final report through a Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office representative who flew from Taipei to Manila on Thursday.

"I think I made it clear to them, until we get hold of the copy we cannot give them any information," NBI Deputy Director Virgilio Mendez said in a radio interview.

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