By Mortz C. Ortigoza
SUAL – Known as lady charmer, the Philippine president grudgingly lauded one of the Vietnamese fishermen who developed an affair with a Filipina when he was in jail in Ilocos Sur.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who led the sent off here of the 17 fishermen, said that Vietnam Ambassador Truong Triey Duong whispered to him that one of the Vietnamese jailed at Vigan City, Ilocos Sur had an affair with a Filipina when he and 15 of his compatriots where locked up there.
The other Vietnamese was a minor thus presumed to be under the watch of the Department of Social Welfare & Development.
“Bumulong iyong ambassador daw. Iyong isa daw dito raw may naka uyab raw ng Filipina. Sino?! Mabilis ito? Iba ang yawa! (The Vietnamese ambassador whispered to me that one of them had an affair with a Filipina. Who is he?! He was fast. This demon is different!), the president declared before the hundreds of amused crowds from the national, regional, and municipal offices of the government who attended the first official visit of the president of the republic in this rustic and coastal town and the province of Pangasinan.
On September 8, the 17 Vietnamese fishermen on board three fishing vessels were arrested by the Philippine Navy off Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
Government authorities filed charges against them like violations of Section 91 of Republic Act No. 10654 or An Act to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing; violation of Republic Act 8550 as amended by Republic Act 10654 for poaching and CA 613, Section 37 (a)(1) & (7) for entering Philippine waters at Poro Point, La Union without inspection, admission, and in the absence of nine entry visa and record of arrival in the country.
The Philippine authorities however dropped all these charges because it was argued that the fishermen were forced to reach the Philippine waters due to Typhoon Ferdie and the southwest monsoon from the South China Sea. On October 10, the Justice Department issued a memorandum allowing them to return to Vietnam without fine or penalty.
On October 24, a joint resolution issued by concerned agencies cleared the 17 Vietnamese fishermen to sail for their home country on board their three fishing vessels.