The parallel investigations by Taiwan and the Philippines into the fatal shooting of Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成) by Philippine Coast Guard personnel on May 9 are intended to produce results both sides can agree on, Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said yesterday.
If the Philippines concludes its report based on the evidence found during the course of its investigation, once Taiwan completes its investigation then Taipei and Manila will have arrived at a consensus on the circumstances leading to the shooting, Chen said at a legislative committee meeting.
“Based on the rules of evidence-gathering and analysis, there can be only one truth,” Chen said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) said that under no circumstance could Philippine judicial personal deny that Philippine Coast Guard personnel applied excessive force against the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28 that Hung was on because Taiwanese prosecutors have found 59 bullet holes riddling the fishing boat.
The Philippines and Taiwan yesterday started what Manila has termed a “parallel investigation” into the incident, with a team from the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation arriving in Taiwan yesterday and a group of Taiwanese investigators departing for Manila.
At a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, Chen said Taiwan termed the way both sides work together to discover the truth behind the shooting as a “cooperative investigation.”
Following days of negotiation, Taipei and Manila agreed that they would discuss the findings of their respective investigations before releasing the reports, Chen Ming-tang said in response to a question from Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁).
Taipei and Manila will release separate reports, but the results of their probes should be the same, Chen Ming-tang said.
Chen Ming-tang said that the Taiwanese investigative team, led by Lin Yen-liang (林彥良), met with National Bureau of Investigation Director Nonnatus Caesar Rojas at 11am yesterday to finalize the team’s itinerary during their stay in Manila.
Immediately after the meeting, the team initiated their investigation by conducting a ballistics test, Chen Ming-tang said.
The Taiwanese team is to inspect the Philippine vessel involved in the incident today and they are scheduled to review video footage of the shooting and interrogate witnesses and suspects tomorrow, he said.