Villanueva: Duterte gov’t in ‘state of confusion’ over Reed Bank incident


MANILA – Sen. Joel Villanueva on Tuesday said the administration appears to be in a “state of confusion” over the incident involving a Chinese vessel and a Filipino fishing boat in the Recto (Reed) Bank in the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, Villanueva said government officials must provide clarity about the incident, as he noted how administration officials changed their tone in a matter of days.

“At first, some Cabinet members described the case as a collision. A few hours after, the official line became allision. Then later on, it was called a ‘maritime incident.’” he said.

“One thing is clear to our minds. It seems that in this particular case, even the government is in a state of confusion.”

In a statement, Panelo took exception to Villanueva’s remarks, saying government officials only issued “clarifications” as more details about the incident emerged.

“What the members of the Cabinet did was simply to clarify the issue as the circumstances previously unknown surrounding the Recto Bank incident begin to unravel,” Panelo said.

“If after the clarification, the reader cannot still comprehend, then it is his mind which is in a state of confusion as he cannot grasp a simple correction of terminology, or worse, he could be intellectually challenged.”

Panelo has cast doubt on the fishermen’s version of the incident, saying there were inconsistencies in the narration of two of them.