JUNE 19, 2019 — Sen. Richard Gordon urges cabinet members to refrain from making statements about the allision in Recto bank as this may “weaken” the country’s stand on the issue.
Gordon observes that there are too many officials speaking about the incident, others with varying versions of the story. He says the statements should only come from Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of National Defense.
“Cabinet officials who are not part of the negotiations should refrain from speaking or making statements about the incident. Let us leave the negotiations regarding the incident to the DFA, the DND and possibly the OSG. I think the President is already talking through the DFA, hence, the diplomatic protest. Do not force the President to talk more. The President can’t be tied to a corner dahil kung iba ang lalabas sa investigation at taliwas iyon sa sinabi niya, hindi na niya mababawi,” he said.
Sen. Joel Villanueva also notes, the “government is in a state of confusion” over the Recto bank issue.
Villanueva said officials were still unsure about what to call the sinking of the Filipino fishermen’s boat; whether it was an ‘allision’, ‘collision’, or ‘maritime incident’.
But Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo responded to Villanueva’s comment, saying the executive’s stand on the incident has always been ‘clear’ and ‘unequivocal’.
“The Executive’s standpoint has been clear and unequivocal: The issue of sovereignty is non-negotiable. Foremost in our mind is to serve and protect the interest of the Filipino people, including the 22 affected fishermen,” said Panelo.