By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is not keen on summoning Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua to Malacañang amid an ongoing investigation into Recto Bank incident, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the government has no jurisdiction to summon the Chinese ambassador over the maritime incident.
“We cannot summon the Ambassador. Wala naman tayong jurisdiction kay ambassador [We have no jurisdiction over the ambassador]. We are not the government of China to summon an official of China,” he said during the Palace press briefing.
“The President, I think, is not inclined to do that because ang feeling niya talagang—unang-una, ginagawa na nila, may statement na si Ambassador about seriously and cautiously studying the facts [he feels that they are doing something, the Ambassador made a statement about seriously and cautiously studying the facts],” he said.
Panelo also insisted that summoning an ambassador to the Palace was “not diplomatic.”
“You just don’t summon, that’s not diplomatic…Ganoon lang kasimple iyon [it’s that simple] but we can invite,” he said.
Panelo however said inviting the ambassador might not be prudent for now since the investigation into the Recto Bank incident is still ongoing.
“Kapag inimbitahan mo iyon eh parang pini-prejudge mo na. Bakit mo iniimbitahan, eh nag-iimbestiga pa lang nga eh [If you invite him, it’s like you’re prejudging him. Why would you invite him when it is still being investigated?],” he said.
For now, he said they would wait for the results of the inquiries, particularly know the facts of the incident involving a Filipino fishing vessel hit by a Chinese ship off Recto Bank last June 9. He acknowledged that the “Chinese side has the right to be heard.”
He said the two parties should instead “meet later on” after their respective investigations into the incident are completed.