Duterte wants to compare Philippine findings with China on Recto Bank boat sinking incident
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday the Philippines would wait China's report and compare findings of the two country on the boat sinking incident on June 9 in Recto Bank.
This was after the joint investigation report by the Philippine Coast Guard and Maritime Industry Authority ( Marina) reportedly described that what happened to the 22 Filipino fishermen on board Gem-ver, which was rammed by a Chinese vessel, was "a very serious marine casualty.”
"No, we have our recommendations, we have our report. Then we will wait for China to make its report. Then we can compare notes," Duterte told reporters when asked if the government would at least push for Chinese fishermen's liability.
"And then whoever is within a better position to assert justice, they do it. If it's them (who is at fault), they should pay," he said.
The Palace, which received the joint report of the PCG and Marina, has yet to make it public.
Duterte reiterated that what happened was not serious because nobody died.
"When you talk about marine transportation and all, it is a maritime incident. And that is very small because nobody died," he said.
On criticisms against him for allowing Chinese fishermen within the Philippine exclusive economic zone, Duterte insisted it was not unconstitutional.
He said he would explain during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22.
"They (critics) said it's unconstitutional, well, you wait. Maybe in the SONA, I will educate people that what I did, I said 'you can fish'...it's really right and it's not unconstitutional," he said.
"By any stretch of imagination, what I did was not unconstitutional. As a matter of fact, it was in keeping with the law," Duterte stressed.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, citing Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution, urged Duterte to uphold and protect the country's martime resources, including those within the EEZ.
At the same time, Duterte said if the United States really wants the Philippines to drive away China in the disputed South China Sea, he would ask help from America.
"I have a proposal. If America really wants to drive away China, since I can't do it, I will ask help from them. I want the whole fleet of the Seventh --- the Seventh Fleet of the Armed Forces of the United States there," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS