By Benjamin Pulta

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla (PNA file photo by Yancy Lim)

MANILA – Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) “to conduct an in-depth investigation into the reported illegal and unlawful activities committed by foreign diplomats.”

In a statement on Tuesday, the Department of Justice said Remulla’s directive was prompted by the reported release of the Chinese Embassy of the alleged transcript and recordings of the conversation between a Philippine military official and a Chinese diplomat regarding the disputed Ayungin Shoal.

“While enjoying the privileges and immunities accorded to foreign diplomats, it is also their duty to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state,” Remulla said.

“Diplomatic immunity should never be used as a license to exploit our country’s peace and harmony for selfish motives. This privilege does not shield anyone from the consequences of the Rule of Law,” he said, as he vowed to take appropriate actions, if warranted, against erring diplomats.

According to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, diplomats, employees of international organizations and their immediate family members are covered by a certain degree of diplomatic immunity during their stay in a receiving State.

However, diplomatic immunity is only with respect to official acts performed in the exercise of official duties and functions necessary for advocating international comity, policies and interests. (PNA)