Any China envoy proved ‘wiretapping’ may be persona non grata

Any Chinese envoy proved ‘wiretapping’ may be tagged persona non grata

/ 02:56 PM May 22, 2024

PHOTO: Senate logo and building facade STORY: Any Chinese envoy proved ‘wiretapping’ may be tagged persona non grata file photo

MANILA, Philippines — Any Chinese embassy diplomat who will be found guilty of wiretapping the purported “new model” talks over Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal may be declared persona non grata.

Fretti Ganchoon, senior state counsel of the Department of Justice (DOJ), explained this during the hearing of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation on the leak of a conversation between Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos, the former chief of the military’s Western Command, and an unidentified Chinese diplomat.


Ganchoon said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) could ask for the waiver of a diplomat’s absolute immunity to answer complaints to be filed in court.


“If the embassy or official refused to waive his immunity then based on their procedure and based on what happened in the Panama case, refusal to waive immunity in the face of evidence that there is wiretapping can lead to the declaration of that person being considered as a persona non grata,” Ganchoon said during the hearing.

She was referring to the 2012 case where the DFA declared as persona non grata a Panamanian for raping a 19-year-old girl.

According to the lawyer, this is provided by Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

READ: Ex-Wescom chief: I didn’t give consent to Chinese embassy’s recording

READ: Axed Wescom chief: No secret deal in phone call with Chinese diplomat

READ: DOJ chief orders probe into alleged wiretapping of Chinese diplomats


When asked by Sen. Francis Tolentino if the possibility of a “secret expulsion” could be done, Ganchoon said: “It’s not really in our mandate because these are really diplomats. But if it’s secret, nobody should know it because it’s secret. But that is one of the tools of the state that, usually, is not announced when it’s going to be done.”

The Chinese embassy presented a supposed transcript of the conversation between Carlos and a Chinese diplomat, claiming it has an audio recording of the exchange about the “new model” of Ayungin Shoal, according to a Manila Times report.

Carlos said he did not consent to being recorded.

The Anti-Wire Tapping Law (Republic Act No. 4200) prohibits recording any private conversation without the consent of all parties involved.

Carlos confirmed that this conversation did take place, but he denied that it had something to do with the “new model” and “common understanding” on Ayungin Shoal as the Chinese claimed.

The regular resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre, grounded in Ayungin Shoal, became one of the flashpoints of tension in the West Philippine Sea, as Chinese vessels resorted to using military-grade lasers and water cannons which even injured Philippine Navy personnel.

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Carlos was removed as chief of Wescom after this was exposed.

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TAGS: PH-China Relations, West Philippine Sea, Wiretapping

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