President Rodrigo Duterte revealed on Wednesday that the Filipino fishing boat which sank at the disputed Recto Bank three weeks ago was “sideswiped” by the Chinese vessel.
In his speech during the 122nd anniversary of the Presidential Security Group at Malacañang, the President said that even the Cabinet is agreeing that the Filipino boat – which had 22 fishermen who almost lost their lives during the incident – that the Chinese vessel had indeed sideswiped the Filipinos’ boat.
“It was not rammed, because if it was, then it should have sunk immediately,” said Duterte.
Earlier, Manila and Beijing have agreed to conduct a joint probe over the incident, but the President raised doubts on Monday whether a joint investigation would resolve the issue, saying that he already had the preliminary reports of the Philippine Coast Guard and the Navy on the incident, but is still awaiting the official report.
In the same speech, the President also criticized former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario for using a diplomatic passport during his Hong Kong trip last week, saying that the former DFA secretary had no business using a government diplomatic passport.
To recall, Del Rosario — who traveled to Hong Kong Friday using a diplomatic passport — was held for questioning and later deported and following the incident, the DFA said it will cancel all courtesy diplomatic passports following the incident.
Malacañang also noted Del Rosario may have “misused” his privilege.
Del Rosario has said he will not challenge the DFA’s plan, even as he denied the Palace’s claim of misuse.