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PNP ready to assist NBI on ‘wiretapping’ probe

MANILA, Philippines —  The Philippine National Police (PNP) vowed to support the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in its probe on the alleged wiretapping activities of the Chinese embassy.

PNP information officer Col. Jean Fajardo said they are ready to give assistance in the NBI investigation, which was ordered by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla.

Remulla issued the order after the Chinese embassy released a transcript of an alleged conversation between its diplomat and former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Command (Wescom) chief Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos.

The conversation, which supposedly occurred last Jan. 3, is about a “new model” for managing the dispute between the two sides on the Ayungin Shoal.

Chinese embassy officials, along with defense and security officials, would be invited by a Senate panel that would investigate, in aid of legislation, the alleged wiretapping against Carlos, which is considered a serious breach of existing international law for a foreign embassy.

In an interview, Sen. Francis Tolentino said the invitation was anchored on his Senate Resolution 1023, calling for the Senate committee on national defense chaired by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada to conduct inquiry.

Tolentino clarified that regardless of the outcome of the Senate investigation, the content would be extraneous from the NBI investigation. “We only want to know if there was wiretapping.”

He said that depending on the findings of the investigation, all embassy personnel, including non-diplomatic personnel, clerical staff, cooks and drivers who were given visas could have these canceled and they would be sent home.

“It can lead to a downsizing of the Chinese embassy in Metro Manila, it depends on what can be proven,” he said.

“They can be declared persona non grata, or they could be sent home. I would not preempt the Department of Foreign Affairs’ action, it can lead to the DFA calling for the reduction in the size of personnel of the embassy,” he added.

He said that downsizing an embassy would be a first. “The Chinese embassy has consulate offices in Cebu, Davao and surprisingly they have a consulate in Ilocos Norte,” he said.

Under Republic Act 4200