PH hits China over ‘unverifiable,’ ‘fabricated’ recordings

MANILA. In this file photo, BRP Malapascua monitored 18 Chinese maritime militia vessels anchored off Sabina Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, said the Philippine Coast Guard.
MANILA. In this file photo, BRP Malapascua monitored 18 Chinese maritime militia vessels anchored off Sabina Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, said the Philippine Coast Guard.Photo from PCG

THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) warned on Thursday, May 9, 2024, against falling for false narratives of China on what it claims as the “new model” of arrangement in the Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

“The DFA cautions against falling for false narratives. Resorting to tactics such as releasing unverifiable recordings of supposed conversations with Philippine officials could demonstrate efforts to sow discord and confusion among Philippine agencies and the Filipino public,” it said in a statement amid the reported release of alleged transcript and audio recording of the conversation between a Philippine military official and a Chinese diplomat concerning the Ayungin Shoal.

The DFA reminded that diplomats should strictly adhere to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCR), particularly 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."

The alleged conversation, which took place in January 2024, was supposedly between Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Command (AFP Wescom) Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos and a Chinese diplomat, where they came to an agreement to come up with a “new model” of strategies in a bid to manage the situation in Ayungin Shoal.

The Philippine Government, particularly the DFA, Department of National Defense, AFP and the National Security Council (NSC), denied such an agreement with China.

In a statement, AFP chief of staff General Romeo Brawner said he will not dignify China’s claims that it has agreed to a new model for conduct in Ayungin Shoal, noting that such transcripts can easily be fabricated while audio recordings can be manufactured by using deep fakes.

“China’s claim of an audio recording allegedly between Vice Admiral Carlos and a Chinese diplomat does not merit significant concern as it appears to be a malign influence effort from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” said Brawner.

The AFP chief hits back at China, which he said aims to distract the public from the China Coast Guard’s ongoing aggressive behavior in the West Philippine Sea.

On Tuesday, May 7, 2024, AFP spokesperson Colonel Francel Margareth Padilla said Carlos has taken a leave of absence due to personal reasons, maintaining that it has nothing to do with the ongoing issue.

In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, Defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro said those responsible in recording the alleged conversation should be expelled from the Philippines as what they did is considered wiretapping, which is illegal in the country.

“Ito ay iiwanan namin sa DFA na alamin ang katotohanan kung ano talaga ang nangyari at kung ito talaga ay nangyari dahil ito ay gawain di umano ng Chinese embassy mismo na paglabag sa batas ng Republika ng Pilipinas,” he said.

(We will leave it to the DFA to find out the truth of what really happened and if it really happened because it was the work of the Chinese embassy itself, which is a violation of the law of the Republic of the Philippines.)

“Dapat alamin kung sino ang responsable dito at alisin sa Republika ng Pilipinas,” he added.

(The person/s responsible for this should be identified and removed from the Republic of the Philippines.)

He expressed doubt, however, on the authenticity of the alleged recording. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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