Recto Bank incident ''may be an accident'': Lorenzana
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the collision between Philippine and Chinese fishing vessels near Recto Bank in West Philippine Sea last June 9 was ''maybe an accident''.
“I think it is just an accident, based on some of the information that we got from some of the crew. This is just an accident. Maybe the other side (Chinese fishermen) did not intend to hit them,” Lorenzana said in a forum in Manila Wednesday.
Lorenzana noted that the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) cannot be invoked on the incident where Filipino fishing vessel Gim-ver 1 vessel was allegedly rammed by the Chinese fishing vessel.
“The MDT provides for an attack, an armed attack. This one is not armed attack. This is purely, may be an accident,” he said.
However, Lorenzana said the captain of the Chinese fishing boat has responsibility over the incident as they failed to help the Filipino fishermen.
“I think there was bullying there. I don’t think this was ordered by the higher ups. Only the boat captain is liable because they failed to help our crews,” he said.
Last week, Lorenzana strongly condemned the Chinese fishermen for abandoning 22 Filipino fishermen after their vessel sunk when it was hit by the Chinese fishing vessel.
The Filipino fishermen said they were picked up by a Vietnamese vessel and were transferred to a Philippine Navy ship. Lorenzana announced the incident on June 12, four days after this happened.
"We condemn in the strongest terms the cowardly action of the Chinese fishing vessel and its crew for abandoning the Filipino crew. This is not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people," he said. Robina Asido/DMS