Jun 272013
Almost a month after completing their separate investigations on the May 9 shooting incident in disputed waters off extreme north Luzon, the Philippines and Taiwan have yet to share their probe results with each other.

This was confirmed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima when reporters in Manila asked for updates in the Balintang Channel shooting incident that left a Taiwanese fisherman dead.

“We have not  given each other a copy of the respective reports kasi ‘pag ire-release, [we will] give prior notice,” the Justice chief said.

De Lima said the release of the probe results would be “halos sabay” [almost simultaneous]. “But I haven’t  seen their  report and they haven’t seen ours,” De Lima assured the public.

Also, de Lima said they would be following up with the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) so the Philippines can finally get a copy of Taiwan’s probe results. “And if they ask for our copy, we will furnish them simultaneously in public for the release.”

De Lima earlier forwarded to President Benigno Aquino the probe results prepared by the National Bureau of Investigation, which conducted weeks of investigation both in Manila and in Taiwan.

“I’m waiting the clearance from the President kung puwede nang i-release  ang Taiwan report… Since it’s with the President  already [at] since binabasa na niya iyon, I’m just waiting,” she said.

Earlier, De Lima, while at the World Congress Against Death Penalty, confirmed to reporters that criminal and administrative charges have been recommended by the NBI against Philippine Coast Guard personnel involved in the shooting incident.

The Coast Guard personnel were with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources personnel on board a vessel of the Department of Agriculture-BFAR Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS-3001) when the shooting happened.

Taiwanese Hung Shih-cheng, 65, was killed during the May 9 incident at the Balintang Channel near the Luzon Strait when coast guards sprayed bullets at his boat, claiming that the fisherman attempted to ram a Department of Agriculture-BFAR MCS-3001 vessel.

Along with other sanctions, Taiwan had ordered a freeze in the hiring of Filipinos in protest of what it considered a “cold blooded” murder.

The incident also prompted parallel investigations by both Manila and Taipei. — LBG, GMA News

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