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DOJ not keen on joint probe on fisherman’s death

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(DOJ building)

(DOJ building)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — The Department of Justice (DOJ) is not amenable to Taiwan’s request for a joint investigation of the recent shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman off the Bashi Strait in Northern Philippines.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Friday that Taiwan sent a letter to the DOJ on Wednesday formalizing its request for a joint probe into the incident which resulted in the death of Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-Cheng.

De Lima said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is almost done with its investigation and bringing in a Taiwanese contingent may be an “interference” in the bureau’s probe. She said the two countries may cooperate with each other in their individual investigations.

“Titingnan namin kung up to what extent yung cooperation ng dalawang team of investigators but it’s not going to be joint. Pinag-usapan rin namin kanina na pwede sila (Taiwan) mag-inspect sa PCG/BFAR vessel then payagan din nila tayo na iinspect yung Taiwanese vessel. Simultaneous. Yun ang naiisip namin but at this point, hindi talaga pwede joint investigation lalo na na patapos na [NBI investigation]. To ask that is an interference dun sa investigation natin kung bigla natin sila iinvolve,” she said.

The NBI will still push for an inspection of the fishing vessel in Taiwan, De Lima said. All other aspects of the probe are almost complete, she added.

“The NBI has informed me patapos na sila. Malapit na matapos. Yun naman ang instruction ng pangulo to do it as expeditiously as possible. Ang hindi na lang nagagawa ay yung pagpunta ng team sa Taiwan para mag-occular inspection din sa vessel and hopefully to talk to the survivors.’

“Pero in so far as the evidence found within the country, patapos na yun. As a matter of fact, kanina daw nandoon sa NBI mga personnel ng PCG for questioning. Tapos na rin na-question BFAR personnel na nag-execute na ng [sworn] statements. Tapos nandoon na sa kanila (NBI) yung firearms, ini-examine na,” De Lima said.

Clearance from the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) is needed, she said, for the inspection of the Taiwanese shipping vessel by the NBI team. (MNS)

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