Homicide charges in national interest: Philippine newspaper
CNAMANILA--The recommended homicide charges against Philippine Coast Guard officers involved in the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman in May are consistent with the country's national interest, a Philippine newspaper argued in an editorial Friday.
August 11, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
While the recommended charges by the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) could be unpopular with some Filipinos, the result is good for the country because it solidifies its commitment to international law, the Philippine Daily Inquirer said.
“The recommended filing of charges by Filipino investigators within the Philippine justice system is itself an assertion of our territorial jurisdiction,” commented the Inquirer, one of the country's three largest English newspapers.
The editorial stressed that Manila itself is dependent on international law in defending its territorial claims in the South China Sea and resisting Beijing's territorial encroachments and military provocations, the newspaper said.
“When it comes to our claim over the West Philippine Sea, our chief opponent is Beijing, not Taipei,” the editorial said.
The recommended charges, which have thawed relations between Taipei and Manila, will also lead to better protection of overseas Filipino workers, whose safety represents another important national interest, it said.
The Taipei-Manila row was triggered when Hung Shih-cheng, a fisherman aboard the Taiwanese fishing vessel Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28, was killed by gunfire from a Philippine Coast Guard vessel on May 9 in waters where the two countries' exclusive economic zones overlap.
If the Philippines' Department of Justice follows the NBI's recommendations, made public on Aug.7, the Coast Guard officers charged in the shooting could face sentences of between 12 and 20 years in prison if convicted.