MANILA -- The captain of a Filipino fishing vessel that collided with a Chinese ship will no longer meet with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, his wife said.
F/B GEM-VIR1 Captain Junel Insigne on Sunday said he was supposed to go to Manila and tell Duterte how the Chinese trawler rammed their boat and abandoned them near Recto (Reed) Bank last June 10.
Insigne, who is from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, was on his way to neighboring Calapan town to catch a boat, when his wife called him over the phone, telling him to just go home after learning that a special Cabinet meeting about the collision was cancelled.
There were no other immediate details about Insigne's conversation with his wife, but the couple earlier expressed dismay over a remark by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
The fisherman on Sunday said that Cusi, in a closed door meeting, told the crew members of GEM-VIR1 that the collision may not have been intentional because only the stern of the boat was hit.
The 22 fishermen were rescued by a Vietnamese boat and brought home Friday aboard a Philippine navy vessel.
The Philippine coast guard has started an investigation of the incident which Duterte's spokesman branded as "outrageous and barbaric".
Duterte has yet to make any public comment but he recently criticized China's assertive stance over the sea.
"I love China... but it behooves upon us to ask, 'Is it right for a country to claim the whole ocean?'" he said in a speech last month.
Manila's Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said this week that he had lodged a diplomatic protest with China over the sinking.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Thursday called the incident "an ordinary maritime traffic accident".
Geng said it was irresponsible for the Philippines to "politicize the incident without verification".
With reports from Raphael Bosano, ABS-CBN News; Agence France-Presse