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Thursday, June 13, 2024

‘Polite invitation’ sent to Chinese Embassy officials as Senate begins probe on wiretapping issue

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The Senate Committee on National Defense and Security already extended a “polite invitation” to Chinese Embassy officials in Manila concerning their alleged wiretapping activities targeting members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Senator Jinggoy Estrada has scheduled a hearing on the issue this week following a resolution filed by Senator Francis Tolentino.

Speaking over radio DZBB on Sunday, Tolentino said the invitation was addressed to Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian and Consul General Zhang Zhen. The foreign diplomats have yet to respond to the invitation, according to the senator.

“I haven’t talked to the Committee Secretary yet. I will know by Monday,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino emphasized that the invitation was courteous, acknowledging that the Chinese diplomats could not be compelled to attend the Senate hearing due to diplomatic protocols established under the Geneva Convention.

“They have the right just like us,” he added, noting that the Philippines signed the Geneva Convention in 1965, while China did so in 1975.

The focus of the Senate hearing will be on the alleged violations of the Anti-Wire Tapping Law, not the “new model” of AFP supply missions, Tolentino clarified.

He also acknowledged that the Senate has limited recourse if the Chinese officials choose not to attend the hearing. The senator noted that they would just proceed on strengthening the existing laws against wiretapping moving forward.

Tolentino underscored the importance of updating laws to keep pace with technological advancements, hinting that the non-appearance of Chinese officials might suggest they have something to hide and are not acting in good faith.


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