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Sotto agrees with Duterte’s decision to wait for the investigation on sinking of F/B Gem-Ver1

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By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Vicente Sotto III is agreeing with President Duterte in deciding to wait for the investigation on the sinking of the Filipino fishing vessel in the Recto (Reed) Bank before ordering any actions from the government.

Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III gestures after elected as a newly Senate President at Senate Building in Pasay city, May 21,2018.(Czar Dancel)

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III
(CZAR DANCEL / MANILA BULLETIN)

Duterte, during the 121st anniversary celebration of the Philippine Navy in Cavite Monday night, spoke for the first time about the Recto Bank incident between a Chinese fishing vessel and a Filipino vessel last June 9, which he considered a “little maritime accident.”

He told the Navy to “stay out” of the situation as he rejected an unnamed politician’s call to send more Navy ships in the area, fearing it might trigger a war between the Philippines and China.

The Chief Executive, a known ally to China, said he would rather wait for the investigation and “give the other party the right to be heard.”

Sotto answered in the affirmative when asked in a text message Tuesday if he agrees with Duterte’s position to wait.

“I think he does not want some people to make a mountain out of a molehill,” he also told the Manila Bulletin.

But the Senate chief decided not to comment further on the Recto Bank incident
“because there are too many variables to the story.”

The 22 Filipino fishermen onboard the sunken F/B Gem-ver 1 and abandoned in the Recto Bank earlier said that the Chinese boat deliberately rammed them.

The Chinese Embassy, on the other hand, denied this as it also claimed that the Chinese boat was forced to flee for fear that it will be “besieged” by other Filipino boats which it said were also in the scene.

Sotto last week said the sinking of the Filipino vessel by the Chinese fishing boat “must be an accident”, urging the Department of Foreign Affairs to look further into the incident.

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