Balintang probe out next week

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THE Department of Justice (DOJ) will release next week its findings on the controversial Balintang Channel shooting incident, which resulted in the killing of a Taiwanese.

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According to Prosecutor General Claro Arellano, the panel of prosecutors handling the case is now completing the finishing touches to their findings and could release the results within the month.

The panel of prosecutors was composed of Assistant State Prosecutors Juan Pedro Navera, Alexander Suarez and Josie Cristina Dugay.

“We will release the findings next week,” Arellano told The Manila Times.

Once the recommendation of the panel of prosecutors is made, it shall be subject to approval from Arellano.

Arellano said that the panel submitted the recommendations of the panel last month and the case is definitely not delayed or overdue.

The case was submitted for resolution in September 2013 and the panel finished their recommendation last December and it will still subject for review by Assistant Chief State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon before it reaches Arellano.

In May 2013, Taiwanese fishermen appeared before the DOJ to narrate their version of the incident.

Accompanied by representatives of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO), the three fishermen—Taiwanese Hong Yu Zhi and Hong Jie Zhang and Indonesian Imam Buchaeri—submitted to the panel of prosecutors their respective affidavits, which described how victim Hung Shih-cheng was killed by the Philippine Coast Guard team led by Commander Arnold de la Cruz.

The affidavits were translated English by interpreters from TECO and the Indonesian Embassy in Manila as they appeared before the DOJ panel headed by Prosecutor Navera.

In a two-page affidavit, Hong Yu Zhi, son of the victim, narrated that it was around 9:30 a.m. when their fishing vessel Guang Da Xing 28 was returning to Taiwan from Taitung Chengkung New Port to catch Mahi Mahi fish when the shooting occurred.

It will be recalled that the NBI ordered the filing of homicide charges against eight Philippine Coast Guard personnel: Commander de la Cruz, Petty Officer 2 Richard Fernandez Corpuz, Seaman 2nd Class Nicky Reynold Aurello, and Seamen 1st Class Edrando Quiapo Aguila, Mhelvin Bendo, Andy Gibb Ronario Golfo, Sunny Galang Masangcay, and Henry Baco Solomon.

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