The incident at Ayungin Shoal on June 17 cannot be considered a mere accident but was deliberately done, Philippine Navy soldier Seaman 1st Class Underwater Operator Jeffrey Facundo said.

A member of the Naval Special Operations Group (NavSOG), Facundo, whose right thumb was severed in the incident, appeared at a Senate inquiry stating that the China Coast Guard and maritime militia forces intentionally rammed and destroyed their rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs).

“Hindi sya matawag na aksidente. Intentional yung pagbangga, pagbutas, pagsira,” Facundo said, adding that the Chinese wanted to pull the RHIBs away from BRP Sierra Madre.

“Ayaw na nilang magpa-resupply, magpa-RoRe. Ayaw kaming pa-resupply-in, paakyatin kasi babawasan na yung tao sa Ayungin,” he added.

During his testimony, Facundo recalled how the incident unfolded when they arrived at Ayungin Shoal for the RoRe mission.

He noted that within five minutes after they arrived and docked at BRP Sierra Madre, the CCG arrived and started harassing them, also recalling that they were outnumbered.

“Ang nangyari, pagkarating nila ay wala nang warning at diniretso na yung pag-block. Walong RHIB sila more or less. Sampung [tao] bawat RHIB. Sa NAVSOG, lima kami,” he said.

He also said the other team, who had already tied up their RHIB to BRP Sierra Madre, was the first to be rammed, and their ropes were cut, but the troops tried to stop them.

He likewise denied claims by the Chinese that they had repeatedly issued warnings.

“Walang warning, hindi ko maintiindihan yung salita e intsik. Bago sila nagsigaw pero binabangga na nila tayo,” he said.

Facundo also narrated that when their RHIB was rammed, the keel of the Chinese boat got on top and landed where he fell, which caused his finger to be severed.

“Nung unang bangga, hindi sya gaanong bwelo. Then kumuha ng bwelo, nung pagbangga, na-out balance ako at natumba. Ngayon, kung saan ako bumagsak doon din sya pumunta,” he said.

He further stated that when they first attempted to conduct a medical evacuation and bring him to a Philippine Coast Guard vessel waiting in Sabina Shoal, the Chinese forces again blocked them and destroyed the rubber boat they were aboard, which forced them to return to BRP Sierra Madre.

“Alas syete (ng gabi) kami nakaalis sa Ayungin then around 11 or 12 na ng midnight nakarating kami sa barko ng PCG,” he said.

He also stated that despite being severely injured, what he was thinking about were the other RHIBs that were towed by the CCG.

“Ok lang kami pero ang inaalala ko is nawawala yung dalawang RHIB natin kasi nandoon yung ibang kasama namin,” he stated.