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Senate to probe 'wiretapping' by Chinese Embassy

(UPDATE) Expulsion of the erring diplomat or the downsizing of the embassy are the possible consequences of the wiretapping by the Chinese Embassy in Manila of the Philippine military, Sen. Francis Tolentino said Wednesday.

Tolentino made this observation after the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, led by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, agreed to investigate the incident in which the Chinese Embassy released an audio recording and transcript of a conversation, purportedly between a Chinese diplomat and Western Command chief Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos.

In the tapped telephone conversation, Carlos allegedly agreed to a «new model» for handling Philippine resupply missions to the beached BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal to peacefully manage the territorial dispute there.

Estrada and Tolentino have agreed to invite officials from the Department of National Defense, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and the Chinese Embassy.

«We have heard of a pending investigation that will be conducted by the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) concerning the matter. And it is a serious breach of existing international law for a foreign embassy to violate internal and domestic laws of a host country,» Tolentino said.

Republic Act 4200 makes wiretapping illegal and punishable under Philippine law, Tolentino said.

«The Philippines can assert its right to implement Philippine laws,» he said.


The senator said Chinese Embassy officials can attend «voluntarily» the Senate inquiry on May 21 on the reported wiretapping.

Tolentino clarified that the probe is not an acknowledgment of an agreement on Ayungin Shoal.

«What would be the consequences? They could be declared „persona non grata.“ They would be asked to leave [the Philippines],» he said of the Chinese Embassy officials.

He said he would leave it to the DFA to decide what the consequences might be.


He said the DFA could cancel the work visas of the Chinese who are not involved in diplomatic functions such as clerks, cooks, messengers or drivers.

China has consulates in Cebu, Davao and Ilocos Norte. «So, there are a lot of them,» he