Philippine coast guards liable in Taiwan fisherman's death

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - The Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has recommended the filing of criminal charges against the Filipino coast guards involved in the shooting death of a Taiwanese fisherman in northern Philippine waters last month, the Inquirer learned on Tuesday.

A source, who has knowledge of the investigation of the incident but asked not to be identified because he has no authority to speak on the matter, declined to say whether murder or homicide charges had been recommended.

But the source said there was a debate on whether to bring murder charges against the coast guards, as "superior strength" was used "against an unarmed civilian", or homicide, as the shooting death of fisherman Hung Shih-chen was "not premeditated".

The source said the NBI report on the investigation of Hung's death had been submitted to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

"It is a thin report, because the annexes have yet to be forwarded to [Secretary De Lima]," the source said.

The report, according to the source, includes the identities of the coast guards who fired their rifles at Hung's fishing boat in waters off Balintang Island on May 9.

It also contains the identity of the coast guard who fired the bullet that killed Hung, the source said.

The shooter was identified through a cross-match between the slug recovered from Hung's body during autopsy and the signature of the coast guard's M14 rifle.

The shooting happened in Philippine waters, as the Philippine Coast Guard stated in its report on the incident submitted to the NBI, the source said.

The source said the incident took place within 79.2 kilometres of Philippine territory and 316.8 km from Taiwanese territory.

No attempt to ram

But the Coast Guard's claim that the fishing boat Guan Ta Hsin 28 tried to ram the coastal patrol vessel MCS-3001 was disproved, the source said.

The Coast Guard claimed that the fishing boat's hostile move was the reason for its officers' firing at the vessel, aiming for the engine to make it stop.

But the NBI report says the results of the ballistic tests and trajectory examination on the fishing boat showed the shooters did not know where the engine was, the source said.

Hung's family has brought murder charges against the Philippine Coast Guard in Pingtung County District Attorney's Office in southern Taiwan and with the NBI team of investigators who travelled there last month for the Philippine probe of Hung's death.

The shooting death of the fisherman sparked a major diplomatic row between Taiwan and the Philippines.

Taiwan demanded an official apology from the Philippine government, compensation for Hung's family and punishment for the shooters.

To pressure the Philippines into complying, Taiwan froze new jobs in Taiwan for Filipino migrant workers and suspended tourist travel to the Philippines and trade and cultural exchanges between the two countries.

President Aquino apologised for the shooting death of Hung, but Taiwan rejected his apology because of his description of the killing as "unintended" and an "unfortunate loss of life."

Cooperate

The two countries, however, agreed to cooperate in the investigation of Hung's death.

A team of Taiwanese investigators travelled to Manila to examine the coast guards' weapons, interview them, and see their own video of the chase between their vessel and Hung's fishing boat.

An NBI team travelled to Taiwan, examined Hung's boat, interviewed its crew, and studied the Taiwanese coroner's autopsy report.

The two teams agreed to release their findings separately.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao
    Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao

    An Indonesian cargo vessel that was hijacked a month ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia has been found stuck in the waters off Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday. PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the PCG- Southeastern Mindanao district was informed on Feb. 23 that the M/T Rehoboth was found aground off Barangay Cabuaya. Four personnel from the local PCG district office were sent to verify the report. The vessel was reportedly hijacked by …

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf
    Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf

    Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has ordered the sustained campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) following the successive offensives against the armed groups last week. A total of 24 Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers were killed in recent clashes in Sulu last week. The Joint Task Group Sulu has received information that Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron was wounded during one of the encounters but this is …

  • 'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait
    'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait

    Kuwaiti authorities are closely monitoring several relatives of "Jihadi John" who live and work in the Gulf emirate where the Islamic State executioner was born, press reports said on Sunday. A number of relatives of Mohammed Emwazi, named as the militant who has beheaded at least five Western hostages, are working in Kuwait and like him hold British citizenship, Al-Qabas newspaper reported. "Security agencies have taken the necessary measures to monitor them round the clock," the paper said, …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …

  • China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral
    China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral

    China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top US Navy admiral told US lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior. Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options