After DFA, DOJ, Remulla also probing foreign envoys’ illegal acts

After DFA, DOJ also probing foreign envoys’ illegal acts

/ 05:45 AM May 15, 2024

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla order probe into Chinese envoys' possible wiretapping

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla Fernandez

MANILA, Philippines — Diplomatic immunity is “never absolute,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said on Tuesday, as he ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to launch an in-depth probe of supposedly illegal and unlawful activities committed by foreign diplomats.

“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,” he added.


Remulla’s statements were in reaction to the Chinese Embassy’s release of an alleged transcript and recording of the conversation between a ranking Philippine military official and an unidentified Chinese diplomat on how to manage Ayungin (Second Tomas) Shoal.


READ: China embassy’s ‘barking’ violates wiretapping law if claims true — Teodoro

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and National Security Adviser Eduardo Año earlier accused Beijing of disinformation and asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to expel the Chinese diplomats who violated Philippine laws against wiretapping and international diplomatic protocol. In response, the DFA said it would also conduct an investigation.

“While enjoying the privileges and immunities accorded to foreign diplomats, it is also their duty to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state,” Remulla as he vowed to take necessary action, if warranted, against the envoys involved.

Official acts only

He said that the immunity granted to them applies only to “official acts performed in the exercise of official duties and functions necessary for advocating international comity, policies and interests.”

Assistant Justice Secretary Jose Dominic Clavano IV also said the Department of Justice (DOJ) was studying legal options in response to what authorities suspect to be Beijing’s reclamation efforts on Escoda (Sabina) Shoal.

“The DOJ and Office of the Solicitor General continue to coordinate and discuss the possible options and recommendations which will be submitted to the President as soon as it is done,” he said.

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TAGS: Chinese embassy, DoJ, NBI

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