De Lima: Not true NBI can't go to Taiwan

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Justice dispelled reports on Thursday, May 23 that the Taiwanese Justice Ministry has barred Filipino authorities from going to Taipei to investigate the death of a Taiwanese fisherman in Philippine waters.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that according to the Manila Economic Cultural Office, "there is no truth" to the report that Taiwanese Justice Vice Minister Chen Ming-tang did not allow Filipino investigators to travel to Taiwan.

The team will examine the evidence and conduct a re-autopsy of the body of slain fisherman Hung Shih-chen. Taipei Times reported however that the Justice Ministry has denied Manila's request to go to Taiwan to conduct another autopsy of the body and to meet the crew of Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28.

Taipei Times said the ministry reached this decision because the Philippines rejected Taiwan's request to have a copy of the video showing the shooting of the Taiwanese fisherman on May 9. 

De Lima said that a team from the National Bureau of Investigation is set to go to Taiwan within the week, adding they are just getting their visas.

The Philippines and  Taiwan have agreed to conduct a parallel probe - instead of a joint investigation - into the death of Hung, who was shot by the Philippine Coast Guard on May 9 after their fishing boat intruded into Philippines’ territorial waters.

Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency said that the voyage data recorder from the fishing boat showed though that the fishermen were in Taiwan's exclusive economic zone.

The shooting has sparked violence against Filipino workers in Taiwan.

President Benigno Aquino III has apologized to Taiwan through MECO chairman Amadeo Perez, but Taipei rejected it. Taiwan also issued sanctions against Manila, one of which is a ban on the hiring of Filipino workers. -