DFA chief says ‘NO’ to Recto Bank joint probe with China

Image from Sec. Locsin's Facebook account
  • DFA chief Teddy Locsin said there is no joint investigation between China and the Philippines
  • He also reiterated DFA will act on his view alone
  • Locsin appears to have defied the Palace who earlier said it welcomed China’s proposal

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin has made clear his disagreement on the possible joint investigation of the Recto Bank ‘hit-and-run’ incident between China and the Philippines.

In his Twitter post on Friday, June 21, Locsin said there will be no joint investigation as the Philippines and China will be conducting its own separate probe.

His statement came after a Chinese Foreign Ministry official proposed “a joint investigation at an early date” so both sides “can exchange respective initial findings and properly handle the matter through friendly consultations based on mutually-recognized investigation results.”

Screen capture of Locsin’s Twitter post

The Malacañang Palace appears to be amenable to China’s suggestion; saying President Rodrigo Duterte welcomes the proposal and an early resolution to the case.

However, Locsin seemed defiant of Malacañang’s view and insisted the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will act on ‘his view’ and not on anyone else’s.

He also claimed to have the support of the Palace after speaking with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdia.

“Also I listen only to the DND and NSA. This is a matter beyond civilian agencies’ remit and falls well within the DFA’s, DND’s & NSA’s. Period,” the official said on Twitter.

Screen capture of Sec. Locsin’s Twitter post

Duterte said during a speech at the anniversary celebration of the Philippine Navy early this week he will not issue any official statement on the Recto (Reed) Bank incident which left 22 Filipino fishermen floating at sea before they were eventually rescued by a Vietnamese vessel last June 9.

He also dismissed the incident as a “little maritime accident” that merits investigation before taking drastic military action on the part of the Philippines; a statement that further drew criticisms from administration critics and the opposition.