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DFA to probe Chinese diplomats’ ‘illegal acts’

MANILA, Philippines — The “illegal and unlawful” activities of diplomatic officials will be investigated following the potential Anti-Wiretapping Law violation committed by officials of the Chinese embassy in Manila.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) probe stemmed from an unverified recorded phone call between a Chinese diplomat and AFP Western Command chief Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, wherein they discussed a “new model” agreement on rotation and resupply missions to the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippine government is firm and united in “respecting and upholding the rule of law in both the domestic and international milieus,” the DFA said yesterday in a statement.

“It is in this context that the Philippines – as a responsible member of the international community of nations – has consistently called for adherence to international law, including the United Nations Charter, the Vienna Conventions governing inter-state relations and in the maritime domain the 1982 UN (Convention on the Law of the Sea), among others,” it added.

The Chinese embassy released to select media the recording and transcript of the phone conversation between an unnamed embassy official and Carlos in January.

“Foreign diplomats accredited to the Philippines are accorded the necessary liberties to conduct their diplomatic duties, with the expectation that they, in turn, will conduct their diplomatic activities with the highest standards of integrity and professionalism, in pursuit of common interests and mutually beneficial outcomes,” the DFA maintained.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and National Security Adviser Eduardo Año have called for an investigation.

On May 7, the DFA confirmed that no Cabinet-level official of the Marcos administration agreed to any Chinese proposal on Ayungin Shoal.

The Philippines has not entered into any agreement abandoning its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, including the Ayungin Shoal, the DFA noted.

On issues of such importance, the DFA emphasized that any agreements or arrangements would be made only if authorized at the highest level of