Local fishermen pull F/B GemVer 1 to the shores of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro after being rammed by a Chinese vessel near Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea.
The STAR/Walter Bollozos
Philippines to insist on liability of Chinese vessel in Recto Bank allision — Palace
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - July 8, 2019 - 3:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — If the Philippine and Chinese investigations into the Recto Bank incident will have different results, Manila will "definitely" insist on the liability of the offending vessel, Malacañang said Monday.

The Philippines and China have yet to compare their respective versions of the investigation into the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel near Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea last month.

"As I said, there is only one way by which they can justify the abandonment of our fisherfolks and that is if by doing so their lives would have been endangered," presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press briefing.

According to Panelo, this would be the only reason that the crew of the offending vessel cannot be held accountable.

However, it would be the decision of Beijing whether to impose sanctions on the crew of the Chinese vessel that rammed the Filipino boat.

"The Chinese vessel is under their jurisdiction and they said that they will not allow it. If they are guilty, they (China) will impose [a] sanction for their irresponsible behavior," Panelo said.

Panelo added that if Beijing could not prosecute the crew of the offending vessel, the Philippines would sue the Chinese ship through Philippine courts.

"They endangered the lives (of Filipino fishermen). They can be sued for reckless imprudence resulting [in] serious damage of property endangering the lives of our countrymen," Panelo said.

The Malacañang spokesman listed three issues that the investigation would have to address — the nature of the incident, the accountability of the Chinese vessel and the issue of compensation.

Citing Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Panelo said Manila and Beijing would have to compare findings first before issuing a joint statement.

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