MANILA – The Department of Justice has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the disappearance of four members of the Indonesian Navy who were escorting a Philippine fishing boat apprehended near the maritime border of Indonesia and the Philippines.
The Indonesian Navy personnel have been missing since December 2016.
They were part of the group tasked to escort fishermen on board the FB Nurhana, a Filipino fishing vessel apprehended by the Indonesian Navy near the maritime border.
Nurhana, a fishing vessel allegedly owned by the father of General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera, was apprehended by Indonesian naval personnel for encroaching into Indonesian territorial waters in the North Sulawesi area last December, according to a story in the Philippine Star on Jan. 21, 2017.
The 21 crew of Nurhana were reportedly taken by an Indonesian Navy vessel and brought to Bitung, where they are currently detained.
The fishing boat captain identified as Hermilito Apura and two crew members identified as Cleaford Apura and Entoy Lopez were escorted by the now-missing Indonesian Navy officials: Faisal Dwi Andarta, Dian Mahendra, Badnur Rohim and Rizky Dwi Zeptiano onboard the Nurhana, on the way to Talaud Island.
The four Indonesian Navy officials went missing, while Apura and his two crew were sighted in General Santos City.
Indonesian officials interrogated Apura and his two crewmembers.
Apura reportedly said the boat caught fire and sank along with the four Navy officers, said the PhilStar account.
A former Indonesian governor in January 2017 asked President Duterte for help in locating the four Indonesians.
Sources from Indonesia said Duterte assured former North Sulawesi governor S. H. Sarundajang that he would look into the matter.