Press Release
June 20, 2019


Senator Richard J. Gordon called on government officials not to get out of line in connection with the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat off Recto Bank last June 9 and wait for the Chinese government to present the explanation of their fishermen on the incident.

"We should stick to the Philippines' strongest position that the Chinese abandoned them and they should apologize for it. Our strongest position right now in our quest for justice is that everybody agrees that they were abandoned. Imagine, they had to row to the Vietnamese ship to get them rescued. Let us not build China's defenses for them," Gordon said.

"And now the Vietnamese are precisely saying that they (Filipino fishermen) were really abandoned. What better proof do we have than that? We should task the Chinese to explain that to us. They have not even explained to us yet and we're telling them that we're changing our minds that it was intentional. That's not the point. At the rate this is going, we might end up with the poor Filipino fishermen admitting that they were really trying to commit suicide," he added.

The senator was obviously miffed by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol's press conference with the fishermen and concluding for them that their captain was no longer sure if it was an intentional or accidental collision.

Gordon pointed out that what the fishermen need right now are justice and respect from the Chinese and not the government trying to mollify them by giving them gifts, and showing it to the whole world too. He added the gifts only cheapen and exploit the vulnerability of our countrymen and simply show utter disrespect for the dignity and the dire condition of the fishermen. The senator also stressed that the Departments of Foreign Affairs and National Defense, as well as the Office of the Solicitor General should be left to handle the Chinese so as not to weaken the country's case.

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