By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday called on the government to hold accountable the Chinese crew involved in the June 9 ship-ramming incident near Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea.
“We strongly urge the Department of Foreign Affairs to demand from the Chinese government to find those responsible and recognize Philippine jurisdiction, so they can face trial before our courts,” she said.
“Those involved must be made accountable in accordance with the pertinent international treaties and Philippine laws,” Robredo added.
The Vice President, who is the leader of the opposition, asserted that the justice for the 22 Filipino fishermen will be served once the Philippine courts assumed jurisdiction.
Like Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Robredo strongly condemned the Chinese vessel for sinking fishing boat Gem-Ver that left the Filipino fishermen at sea.
The maritime incident occured while the boat was anchored near Recto Bank, which is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
A Vietnamese vessel rescued the distressed Filipino fishermen after their boat capsized.
“With the rest of the Filipino nation, I express my deepest outrage at the incident,” she said.
The lady official also expressed disappointment at the “refusal of the Chinese government to acknowledge the culpability of those responsible.”
Robredo took into account the statement of Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua that their government will investigate the incident.
Nevertheless, she demanded justice for the Filipino crew of sunken Gem-Ver.
“If the Chinese government has already presented their own version of the events and will not even accept that a wrong was committed, how can we expect it to mete justice on those responsible?” she said.