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DOJ orders NBI to probe China embassy for ‘wiretap’

Rey E. Requejo

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the Chinese Embassy in Manila on alleged violations of the country’s Anti-Wiretapping Act.

“Diplomatic immunity should never be used as a license to exploit our country’s peace and harmony for selfish motives. This privilege does not shield anyone from the consequences of the Rule of Law,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said in a statement.

He reminded diplomats who enjoy privileges and immunities that it is their “duty to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state.”

Remulla said he has already instructed the NBI to conduct an in-depth investigation into the alleged wiretapping committed by the embassy that recorded the conversation between its diplomat and an official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Command.

The Chinese Embassy earlier said the conversation was proof that the Philippines agreed to a “new model” on the management of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) dispute.

Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the DOJ said “diplomats, employees of international organizations, and their immediate family members are covered by a certain degree of diplomatic immunity during their stay in a receiving State.”

“However, diplomatic immunity is only with respect to official acts performed in the exercise of official duties and functions necessary for advocating international comity, policies and interests,” Remulla emphasized.

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline NBI to probe Chinese Embassy over ‘wiretapping’

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