Año wants Chinese Embassy people linked to recorded phone convo on ‘new model’ expelled from Philippines

Those involved in the supposed phone conversation for the “new model” agreement from the Chinese Embassy in Manila should be expelled from the country not only for violating Philippines laws but also for the brazen breach of the diplomatic protocol, National Security Adviser Eduardo Año said on Friday, May 10.

In a statement, Año said he supports the call of Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro who earlier urged the Department of Foreign Affairs to take appropriate actions against individuals in the Chinese Embassy who claim to have recorded an alleged phone conversation between a Chinese diplomat and a military official.

Teodoro earlier said that if indeed there was a phone conversation, the threat of the Chinese Embassy to release the audio recording and the transcript is tantamount to admission of violating the Philippines Anti-Wire Tapping Act.

Año backed the statement of Teodoro, saying that if indeed there was a recorded phone conversation where the “new model” agreement was discussed for the conduct of resupply mission to the Ayungin Shoal, it is considered as a serious breach of diplomatic protocols and conventions.

“The Chinese Embassy's repeated acts of engaging in and dissemination of disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation - now releasing spurious transcripts or recordings of purported conversations between officials of the host country - should not be allowed to pass unsanctioned or without serious penalty,” said Año. 

“Those individuals in the Chinese Embassy responsible for violating Philippine laws and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and those responsible for these malign influence and interference operations must be removed from the country immediately,” he added.

Año explained that the purpose of the disinformation and misinformation is clear— to sow discord, division, and disunity between and among the Filipino people.

“Without a doubt, these are serious breaches of the basic norms of international relations and diplomacy by the embassy,” said Año.

“Bypassing official and long established channels and protocols, talking to officials without the requisite authorities or bona fides, then maliciously claiming that alleged discussions should bind the Philippine government is farcical, foolish, and reckless,” he added.

The issue started with the reports of the Chinese Embassy claiming that Philippine defense and security officials have agreed to the “new model” of the conduct of resupply mission for soldiers assigned to the BRP Sierra Madre.

The BRP Sierra Madre was deliberately marooned on the shallow waters of the Ayungin Shoal in 1999 amid the territorial dispute. 

Among those agreed under the supposed “new model” agreement was that the Philippines must inform China of the resupply mission at least two days earlier and that no materials for repair must be delivered.

Philippine defense and security officials denied China’s claim, which allegedly prompted the Chinese Embassy in Manila to threaten that it would release the audio recording and the transcript between the phone conversations of a Chinese diplomat and Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, then commander of the AFP-Western Command.

Top Philippine defense and security officials questioned the authenticity of the conversation and denied agreeing to the “new model”, stressing that nobody has the right to strike a deal with foreign countries except the President of the Philippines.