PH raps China on claims regarding unverifiable phone call on West PH Sea

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) criticized China for its move to release to the media information about an unverifiable phone call supposedly between a Philippine military official and a Chinese diplomat concerning a “new model” for deployment of vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

The DFA on Thursday, May 9, cautioned the public against falling for false narratives, especially after the Chinese Embassy in Manila shared the audio recording and the transcript of its purported phone call with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Command (WESCOM) chief.

The DFA said China’s move tends “to sow discord and confusion among Philippine agencies and the Filipino public."

It also reminded the embassy that diplomats should strictly adhere to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

DFA cited Article 41, which states that ​"it is the duty of all persons…to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state. They also have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that state.​"

O​n Tuesday, May 7, Manila Bulletin was among the two media organizations with which the Chinese embassy shared the purported phone call that happened between the two sides.

​It could not be immediately confirmed if the recording was real or fake, although various Philippine governments already warned in the past against similar China narratives.

Department of National Defense (DND) Gibo Teodoro accused China of wiretapping, an illegal offense under Philippine law, should it be proven that the conversation that was leaked really transpired.

In a press conference in Beijing, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian also reported that the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines released the purported recording of the phone call, stating that the facts are now "clear and backed by hard evidence that cannot be denied."

The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Wednesday, May 8, cast doubts on the authenticity of the recording, saying that "transcripts can easily be fabricated, and audio recordings can be manufactured by using deep fakes."

​Lin said that the Philippines' supposedly continued denial of the facts is just hurting its "own credibility and puts peace and stability in the South China Sea in jeopardy."