The Price of Honor

Posted at 07/02/2012 9:16 AM

Last week a Philippine fishing vessel, AXL John, was “rammed” by a “Chinese” vessel, leaving one dead and 4 missing.

This is what has been gathered: 

  • The Philippine Coast Guard reported the likely vessel was the MV Peach Mountain, registered in Hong Kong. It was allegedly the only foreign vessel in the area at the time.  The captain of the Philippine boat, Herman Balmores, confirmed the ship that hit them had Hong Kong markings.

  • The Coast Guard said the Peach Mountain was about 130 miles from the area at the time of the incident. However the vessel could still have been the culprit depending on how fast it was travelling. Navy Vice-Admiral Alexander Pama: “It is possible the ship went faster and it is also possible it maintained its speed. However this is not a definitive conclusion.”

  • Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin: “It is possible it was the Peach Mountain that hit them. It’s also possible it was not the Peach Mountain”. He also said the vessel had no HK markings. Even if it had, he added, “it does not mean it is owned by the Chinese or the Chinese Government”.

  • Malacanang stated the vessel was not the MV Peach Mountain.

  • As of the latest, the Coast Guard says the Peach Mountain “remains the primary suspect”.

So much for clarity

The Aquino Government has made transparency a cornerstone of its administration. It went so far as to establish the impressive sounding Presidential Communications Development and Stategic Planning Office headed by three spokespersons of Cabinet rank; to ensure no truth is left unspoken.

Yet in the matter of the AXL John, the Government cannot speak with a straight face and the question is why.