Let’s state the obvious: the fishermen surely did not disown on their own volition the petition for a Writ of Kalikasan filed with the Supreme Court. They were undoubtedly talked, if not coerced, out of it by the government. They disassociated themselves from the petition immediately after government lawyers met with them. The affidavits crafted out of that meeting echo a rehearsed tune scripted by a spin doctor.
The tactic is consistent with Duterte’s strategy of lies and subterfuge.
Nothing is a more notorious example of this than the outcome of Cabinet officials’ meeting with the Gem-Ver-22 fishermen after the ramming of their fishing boat by a Chinese vessel. Instead of support and assistance to their quest for justice as first priority, the aggrieved fishermen were “visited by riot troops” and handed a script that they could not obviously refuse because their livelihood was on the line.
The fishermen who first appeared in the media were grateful they survived the incident, standing ready to narrate in plain words what happened and perfectly sure of their account. But the fishermen who appeared next after meeting with Duterte’s emissaries were noticeably confused and restrained, giving a different version that was uncharacteristic of them as the explanations became complex and convoluted.
Ano ang laban ng mga mangingisda sa gobyernong mas piniling pagtakpan ang pandadahas ng bansang kumakamkam sa West Philippine Sea (WPS) kaysa ipagtanggol sila? ###
(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 558 here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_558_1)