De Lima hits Duterte’s silence on Reed Bank incident

Detained Senator Leila de Lima questioned President Rodrigo Duterte’s silence over the recent Recto (Reed) Bank incident where Filipino fishing boat crew was abandoned after a collision.

“Rather than coming to the rescue of our countrymen, DFA Sec. Teddy Locsin jumped to the defense of the Chinese by contradicting claims of intentionality on the part of the Chinese by Sec. Lorenzana and various other experts on naval and maritime relations,” de Lima said in a statement.

“President Duterte himself met this issue with his trademark deafening silence in the face of Chinese aggression and misconduct,” she added. 

She said said that these are not the reactions that we need and deserve from our President and top diplomat.

“This sends an unfortunate message to the world that we tolerate injustice from China against our own people,” she explained.

“Apologists of China would argue that this is a matter between non-State actors and that it would be sufficient that the Chinese government merely sanction the operators of the Chinese vessel.”

“It is not enough. A clear injustice has been done and the Chinese fishermen committed a crime against our countrymen. We should demand that they be brought here for prosecution. We should hold the Chinese government responsible for the actions of their vessels operating within our EEZ,” she said.