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Usap muna! Honasan cautions against diplomatic protest vs China

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by Xave Gregorio

Senate defense committee chair Gringo Honasan cautioned against the filing of diplomatic protests against China, saying it is better to communicate first with Chinese officials regarding reports that Chinese Coast Guard took fish from Filipino fishermen on Ayungin Shoal.

“Kung padalos-dalos tayo at gawan kaagad natin ng diplomatic protest, na mukhang ganun naman ang direksyon, aba’y kausapin muna natin ng tahimik yung ambassador dito sa Pilipinas, may direct contact naman ang ating Pangulo doon sa pinuno ng People’s Republic [of China,]” Honasan said Saturday (June 9) in an interview with DWIZ.

“Kinakailangan ng diplomatic protest, ‘yan ang mga huling hakbang dahil ang objective natin ay maiwasan talaga ang confrontation dahil sa sitwasyon natin, talagang sa one on one wala tayong kalaban-laban,” he said further.

GMA News obtained a copy of a cellphone video this week which showed Chinese Coast Guard rummaging through Filipino fishermen’s catch and taking fish from them.

However, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque cast doubt on the authenticity of the video, but said that it could be a basis for the Philippines to file a diplomatic protest if proven true.

Honasan also said the incident, which was caught on camera, should be verified first.

“Importante verified ang mga report na ito, ‘di pwedeng, diba, unnamed sources, kanya-kanyang source tayo. Verified [dapat] na may panghaharas,” he said.

Amid the controversy surrounding the incident, acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio said the Philippines could lodge a new case against China before an arbitral court to demand damages for economic losses.

But Senator Koko Pimentel said the Chinese Coast Guard’s fish grabbing is only a crime committed by a Chinese citizen against a Filipino citizen.

“This is individual versus individual, so wala tayong kaso diyan sa international arena kung ganyan lang ang basic facts,” Pimentel said.

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