Fired Wescom leader refutes allegations of agreement with China

Former AFP-Wescom commander denies secret deal with China
The former commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command (AFP-Wescom) has denied allegations of entering into any agreement with China regarding the dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos refuted the claims during a Senate committee hearing on national defense and security, peace, unification, and reconciliation. He condemned the alleged wiretapping of his conversation with a Chinese embassy military attaché.

The Chinese embassy did not send a representative to the hearing, chaired by Senate Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, which was investigating the wiretapping incident involving a high-ranking AFP official.

Carlos clarified that he has no authority to make agreements with any country and his primary mandate is to conduct operations in the West Philippine Sea to protect territorial integrity and sovereign rights.

He admitted to having a casual conversation with the Chinese military attaché but condemned the unauthorized recording and manipulation of their discussion by the Chinese embassy.

During the hearing, Carlos confirmed that he did not discuss a “new model” with the Chinese official and reiterated his commitment to upholding the Philippines’ sovereign rights.

The AFP official also revealed that he was contacted by a Chinese military colonel in January, but their conversation did not involve any secret deals that would compromise Philippine interests.

Despite the Chinese embassy’s threats to release a supposed transcript of their conversation, Carlos maintained that he did not authorize the recording of their discussion.

The AFP is willing to cooperate with investigations into the wiretapping incident, and Carlos has been reassigned to the Headquarters Support Command under AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. The military clarified that this reassignment is a standard procedure and not a form of punishment.

Amid concerns about the wiretapping incident, the Department of Justice has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the authenticity of the transcript. Officials are also considering whether the incident violates anti-wiretapping laws.

Senate Majority Leader Francis Tolentino raised questions about the consequences for the Chinese embassy’s actions and whether the DFA has the authority to declare diplomats as persona non grata. The DFA stated that law enforcement agencies would handle the investigation.

Senator Estrada expressed worry over the incident, emphasizing the need to address the issue and prevent manipulation by foreign officials. He commended Vice Admiral Carlos for his dedication to serving the Filipino people.

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