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pcg armand balilo
Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesman Armand Balilo

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will seek legal remedy following the guilty verdict charged to eight of its officials for the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman Hong Shi Cheng in May 2013.

The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 15 has convicted Commanding Officer Arnold Dela Cruz, Seaman 1st Class (SN1) Edrando Aguila, SN1 Mhelvin Bendo II, SN1 Andy Gibb Golfo, SN1 Sonny Masangcay, SN1 Henry Solomon, SN1 Richard Corpuz, and Seaman 2nd Class Nicky Renold Aurelio.

Atty. Rodrigo Moreno, counsel of the eight accused said they were deeply dismayed but they will respect the court’s decision. He added that “the Court was gracious enough” to grant their request that the accused remain out of bail.

Moreno also questioned the National Bureau of Investigation’s evidence most especially the forensic examination on the guns used by PCG personnel.

The lawyer reminded that the incident took place in the waters of Philippines and it is clear that Taiwanese fishermen trespassed in the country’s territory.

The accused were just protecting the country from the foreigners, Moreno reiterated.

The Balintang incident caused thousands of Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to lose their job after the Taiwanese government decided to stop issuing working visas to Filipinos seeking jobs in Taiwan.

A representative from the Philippines delivered an apology letter to the Taiwanese government to somehow soothe the tension between two countries.

The court sentenced these eight men of 8-14 years in prison and P50,000 in civil indemnity and P50,000 in moral damages. 

The incident also strained the relationship between Taiwan and the Philippines.

(With reports from Bombo Jerald B. Ulep)