Malacañang on Monday promised a “fair and thorough” investigation of the maritime incident that led to the killing of two Vietnamese fishermen off Bolinao in Pangasinan.
“Authorities are now conducting a fair and thorough investigation into the incident involving a Philippine Navy vessel and Vietnamese fishing boats which were seen fishing 34-nautical miles off Bolinao, Pangasinan, well within (our) exclusive economic zone,” Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has informed his Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Binh Minh, of the incident during a meeting at the United Nations in New York.
Cayetano assured Minh that the five other Vietnamese fishermen in police custody will be treated well.
Based on the report received by the DFA, a Navy patrol boat was on its way to Subic, Zambales when it spotted six Vietnamese fishing boats 34 nautical miles off Cape Bolinao in Pangasinan.
The fishermen tried to flee, prompting the Philippine Navy to give chase. However, one of the Vietnamese boats made dangerous maneuvers and eventually crashed into the left front portion of the Navy vessel.
Navy personnel who boarded the fishing vessel found the two dead Vietnamese later identified as Le Van Liem and Le Van Reo. The five other fishermen surrendered.
Cayetano said teams from the Navy, Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police have been dispatched to Pangasinan to look into the incident.
Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos, spokesman of the Philippine National Police, said the two fishermen died of gunshot wounds.
The Northern Luzon Command had claimed that the Vietnamese fishermen fought naval authorities, prompting a shoot out.
with JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA AND RAMON CARBONELL JR.