By Leslie Ann Aquino
President Duterte’s statement that the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel was just a maritime incident showed his bias in favor of China, according to a Catholic prelate.
“Duterte is selective in dispensing justice. His reaction to the incident shows his bias in favor of Chinese rather than of his fellow Filipinos whose President he is,” Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said in an interview.
“This is a sign that his judgment cannot be relied upon on serious moral and social issues. He avoids ‘trouble’ with China because he is ‘indebted’ to their money,” he added.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo also lamented such statement from Duterte.
He stressed that it is the duty of the government to protect its citizens and its territory.
“It should not allow itself to be bullied and let its people suffer!” said Pabillo.
“The government should use its diplomatic channels to demand from the other and to send the message that this is a serious matter that should be resolved and not be treated only as a mere incident,” he added.
On Monday, President dismissed the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese ship in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as a mere “maritime incident”.
It was the first time that the president spoke about the matter.
Duterte’s statement echoes that of the Chinese foreign ministry back on June 13 when the latter downplayed the boat sinking as “an ordinary maritime traffic incident”.