US not exempt from laws: Philippines' Aquino
MANILA (AFP) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino has welcomed the US Navy's apology for a minesweeper that went aground on a World Heritage-listed coral reef, but said they would not be exempt from penalties.
The priority was to remove the damaged USS Guardian from Tubbataha Reef even as an investigation was under way to determine why it strayed into the area, Aquino told reporters in Davos, Switzerland, according to transcripts released on Sunday.
"We'd like to thank them for respecting our sovereignty and are very careful about our sensitivities," Aquino said of the apology last week by the US embassy and the US Navy.
"But that doesn't exempt them from having to comply with our laws," he said.