Duterte orders Aguirre to dismiss case and deport 5 Vietnamese caught poaching
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to dismiss the charges filed against five Vietnamese fishermen who were caught poaching and to deport them.
Duterte assured Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang during their bilateral meeting at the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Meeting in Da Nang justice would be rendered for the death of two other Vietnamese fishermen who died when Philippine Navy patrol vessel pursued them off Bolinao in Pangasinan province in September.
"Yes, I expressed my regrets and assured him that the machinery of justice is working," he told reporters Thursday night in Vietnam.
He said compensation for the death of the two Vietnamese may be discussed later.
"But I have ordered the other companions of that group which intruded into our economic zone, that they should --- I told Aguirre to just dismiss the case and deport them," he added.
Duterte noted that based on initial investigation, the Philippine ship was allegedly rammed by the Vietnamese fishing vessel, putting in danger the lives of the Filipinos.
"If not for that (ramming incident), and I repeat, this is for everybody's guidance, you have to capture. If you cannot capture the poachers, you may pursue them but you have the limit of the international waters, then the boundaries would come into effect," he said.
According to Philippine law, Duterte said authorities cannot kill a person because of stealing.
"If it is an act of robbery and there's the danger of the victim being killed, then that is the time that you can use force. But if the thief would run away and you have his back is turned against you, we do not have any right at all to kill a human being because according to our courts, Supreme Court said that human life is more valuable than the thing that’s being carried away. Therefore, it is not allowed," he added.
He said criminal investigation is still ongoing regarding the shooting incident.
But administratively, he said, "there has been a verdict, finding...I hope I'm correct...that they were really at fault in shooting." Celerina Monte/DMS