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Philippines makes mutual legal assistance request to Taiwan

Philippines makes mutual legal assistance request to Taiwan

Taipei, May 22 (CNA) The Philippines has filed a letter of request for mutual legal assistance to Taiwan for a joint probe into the May 9 shooting death of a Taiwanese fisherman by a Philippine government vessel in overlapping waters of the two countries' exclusive economic zones. The Ministry of Justice was expected to receive the letter Wednesday through the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), the Philippines' representative office in Taiwan. Under a bilateral agreement on mutual legal assistance, requests for such assistance must be handled by MECO and its counterpart in the Philippines, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines, said Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang. Chen said Taiwan will decide to fully or partially agree to the Philippines' request depending on the progress of negotiations on the matter. The two sides have been in talks on details of mutual judicial assistance, including listing requests for evidence related to the incident. Taiwan has made 20 demands, including allowing Taiwanese investigators to board the Philippine government ship to confirm that bullets they gathered from the Taiwanese fishing boat were fired from the guns carried aboard the Philippines vessel. Based on the principle of reciprocity and equity, the Philippines also asked for access for Philippine investigators to the Taiwanese fishing boat that was attacked and strafed. However, the two sides have become caught in a deadlock over the methods for questioning related personnel and whether the Philippines should provide video of the incident shot by the Philippine patrol boat that carried out the killing. Taiwanese Ministry of Justice official Yang Wan-li was negotiating various issues involving the investigation with Philippine authorities in Manila that day. The ministry said a few days previously that Taiwan and the Philippines had agreed to send investigation teams to each other's country. (Tsai Pei-chi and Y.L. Kao)


Updated : 2021-06-24 04:11 GMT+08:00