Malacañang on Sunday said Taipei has not issued additional conditions with which the Philippines should comply before deploying its investigators to Taiwan.
Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are set to go to Taiwan today to conduct their own probe into the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman off Bataan early this month. The investigators have been issued visas by the Taiwanese government.
In an interview aired over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said she spoke with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Saturday night and the latter confirmed that no new conditions have been issued.
“Nag-check ako kagabi with the Secretary of Justice and the reply of Secretary [Leila] de Lima to me was that there were no new conditions,” she said. “She also informed me that they are just firming up several details of the visit by both sides. But at this point, we cannot yet disclose the agreed arrangement,” she added.
The case remains the NBI’s highest priority, according to Valte.
The Taiwanese government agreed to allow Philippine probers to examine the vessel after a team of Taiwanese investigators was allowed to examine the Coast Guard vessel that figured in the incident.
The DOJ has also approved a Taiwanese request for access to the video that was supposedly taken by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) of the encounter with the Taiwanese fishing boat. The PCG claimed the Taiwanese were poaching in Philippine waters.
Valte said the NBI is coordinating with Taiwanese authorities to facilitate the deployment of Philippine investigators.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd earlier said the NBI investigation is almost complete and the only thing missing is an assessment of the fishing vessel and an interview with its crew.
The killing of the Taiwanese fisherman has soured relations with Taiwan. It also prompted the latter to freeze the hiring of Filipino workers.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Council of Labor Affairs reiterated their commitment to uphold the rights of Filipinos working and living in Taiwan.
MOFA officials recently met with Filipino employees of ChipMos Technologies Ltd., to assure them that the government will maintain a safe and friendly environment for Filipinos in Taiwan. While Taiwan’s government believes that the Philippine government must take responsibility for the killing of the fisherman, the incident should not affect people-to-people relations.
He also expressed Foreign Minister David Y.L. Lin’s hope that Filipino workers will be able to experience the friendliness of the peace-loving people of Taiwan.