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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Lawmakers back DFA probe into Chinese diplomat’s illegal wiretapping

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Two lawmakers expressed support for the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) move to investigate allegations of illegal wiretapping, stemming from an unverified recorded phone call between a Chinese embassy official and a Philippine Navy officer on an alleged agreement concerning the Ayungin Shoal.

Representatives Rodge Gutierrez (1-RIDER party-list) and Jonathan Keith Flores (2nd District, Bukidnon) backed the DFA probe. They echoed the positions of the Department of National Defense (DND) and the National Security Council (NSC) in denying the so-called “new model agreement.”

“On an official stand, yes, we support the move by the DFA. Definitely, they have to do this. If you’ve been following this issue, the declaration of our Department of National Defense and the National Security Council in strongly denying the alleged gentleman’s agreement,” Gutierrez told reporters.

“We can see—this is my personal opinion—that China is getting desperate. Because what kind of a foreign state would try to intervene in our local politics by introducing fake or manipulated information?” he asked.

Gutierrez said he believes that China cannot secure a formal agreement on resupply missions in Ayungin Shoal, so they invented one.

Flores also expressed support for the DFA probe and reiterated what many have said before: that China is a real bully.

“I support the investigation being conducted by the DFA, if they are gonna conduct one because it’s really just China being China, and it’s bullying us, they are not following our laws, our rules. So, to me, they are just being themselves, being bullies as they are,” Flores said.

He went on to criticize some personalities who appear to side with China, especially on the issue of the West Philippine Sea.

“It saddens me that some Filipinos, current and ex-officials of the government, are saying a different tune. We should be one in supporting our President, one in supporting our policies and one in protecting our sovereignty over these islands, over these areas,” Flores said.

“So, if they are claiming that there is some form of an agreement, our actions speak differently, we’ve been continuously supplying our troops there, we’ve been continuously patrolling the area, we’ve been continuously conducting drills. So, what agreement is there to talk about? There’s no such agreement,” he added.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday also issued a statement directing the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the Chinese Embassy in Manila on alleged violations of the country’s Anti-Wiretapping Act.

Authorities are probing the alleged wiretapped conversation between a Chinese diplomat and Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command, concerning a “new model” agreement on rotation and resupply missions to the BRP Sierra Madre.

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