MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana now choruses it was just “maybe an accident.” This was after being the first to condemn the boat sinking incident in the West Philippine Sea.
Lorenzana stated on Wednesday, June 19, in a Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum in Malate, Manila, “I think it’s just an accident, based on information we got from the crew. Maybe the other side did not intend to bump them… That’s the only thing, they left.”
Lorenzana’s words echo China’s statement on the incident, which the country has described as an “an ordinary maritime traffic accident.”
Lorenzana said is also a far cry from his preceding one when he broke the news to the public that the Filipino boat “collided” with the Chinese boat and the fishermen were abandoned at sea.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the cowardly action of the suspected Chinese fishing vessel and its crew for abandoning the Filipino crew. This is not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people,” he gave this statement on June 12.
Fishing Boat Gem-Ver was rammed last June 9th then abandoned by a Chinese ship near Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea. Said Recto Bank belongs to the Philippines.
Lorenzana issued the statement in the forum when asked whether the Philippines can entreat its Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with Western giant the United States against China. He later cited the defense agreement does not cover the ramming incident.
“The MDT provides for an attack. This is not an armed attack,” Lorenzana concluded.