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NBI to Investigate Alleged Chinese Embassy Wiretapping

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has been directed by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla to look into possible wiretapping legislation violations by the Chinese embassy.

Remulla released a statement yesterday announcing a “in-depth investigation” in response to the Chinese embassy releasing what appeared to be a transcript. According to the transcript, a discussion about a “new model” for resolving the Ayungin Shoal issue took place between the commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Command and a Chinese ambassador.

“Diplomatic immunity should not be utilized as a pretext to compromise the harmony and peace of our nation for personal gain. Remulla declared, “No one is exempt from the rule of law because of this privilege.

He stressed that although diplomats have certain rights and immunity, they nonetheless have a legal obligation to follow the laws and policies of the nations in which they are stationed.

According to the Chinese embassy, Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos, the head of Wescom, and a Chinese official had the recorded conversation on January 3. According to reports, the “new model” entailed an arrangement that restricted the flow of supplies and food to the Marines on BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin Shoal, leaving out building materials.

In 1999, the Sierra Madre was purposefully beached by the Navy to act as an outpost for a small contingent of Marines.

The Anti-Wiretapping Act states that it is unlawful to record talks without everyone’s permission. Court consent is also necessary for covert wiretapping. Foreign nationals would be deported and violators might face up to six years in prison; however, the law makes no mention of diplomatic criminals.

The DOJ emphasized that ambassadors and their families enjoy some degree of immunity in their host nations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. This immunity, however, is limited to formal actions required for their diplomatic responsibilities.

Retired Associate Justice Antonio Carpio of the Supreme Court stated, “If the Chinese embassy official is entitled to diplomatic immunity, prosecution is not possible, but he can be expelled as persona non grata.”

The Chinese embassy officers are being pushed out of the Philippines by security officials due to their violations of Philippine laws and diplomatic protocol.

Furthermore, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and the FBI have been asked by the Inter-Agency Committee on Foreign Students (IACFS) to perform a “security assessment” regarding suspected spy and sleeper cell activity in the nation.

Speaking at the IACFS meeting on Monday, Bureau of Immigration (BI) spokesperson Dana Sandoval stated that while there were no anomalies in the student visa process, there were issues related to national security that needed to be resolved.

If a certain nationality will be the target of the “security assessment,” Sandoval did not say.

“The country has expressed concerns regarding sleeper cells, even though they may possess all the required documentation.” The NICA and NBI are applicable to this situation. No anomalies with regard to the issuing of visas were discovered, according to Sandoval.

She also said that if the NICA or NBI asked for data, the BI would comply. Data sharing is something we would be happy to do as part of interagency cooperation.

Amidst concerns that Chinese students in Cagayan province might be spies or members of sleeper cells for the Chinese military, the Philippine National Police (PNP) started conducting background checks on them last month.

In an interview with Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon, Sandoval mentioned that after the COVID-19 pandemic, there would be a rise in the number of international students in the nation in 2023.

The IACFS is presided over by the Commission on Higher Education, and member agencies include the BI, NBI, NICA, Department of Foreign Affairs, and Department of Education.

POGO Hospital Raided

The Philippine Anti-Organized Crime Commission raided and closed an illegal hospital in Pasay City on Monday that catered to workers of Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) companies.

According to Gilbert Cruz, executive director of PAOCC, at approximately 5:30 p.m., police and BI agents raided the hospital located within the Hobbies of Asia facility on Macapagal Ave.

Cruz stated that the operation was predicated on allegations that the facility was running without a license from the Department of Health.

Three medical professionals, one Chinese and two Vietnamese, were detained. Chinese and Vietnamese pharmacists were also taken into custody.

Cruz stated in a Viber message, “They did not present their licenses from the Professional Regulation Commission to practice as foreign professionals.”

For an immigration inquest, the accused were sent to the BI.

Once their visas were presented, two patients—a Chinese and a Vietnamese—were permitted to depart.



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