Customs Examiner Opens Diplomatic Pouches for Japan's Emperor, Japan Embassy 'Very Disappointed'

A Bureau of Customs (BOC) examiner just committed a "serious breach" at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) by opening diplomatic pouches that are intended for Japan's Emperor, who is scheduled to visit the country on Tuesday (Jan. 26).

Termed as "faux pas", which means "very embarrassing or tactless act or remark", NAIA Customs Examiner Pompeo Manalo reportedly opened the pouches that are to be delivered to the Japanese Embassy in Manila.

The packages contained many items, including a Japanese wine ("sake") that is supposed to be used for a welcome reception to honor Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

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The deliverables were already covered by a certificate from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and along with other required documentations for its safe and smooth delivery, sources said.

BOC Examiner Opens Diplomatic Pouches for Japan Emperor

Article 27.3 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR) is clear cut in saying that such items "shall not be opened or detained."

The gaffe happened last month at the Pair Cargo Customs Bonded Warehouse in Pasay City. It alarmed the office of Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina, prompting him to order a probe on the said serious diplomatic offense.

A report claimed that Manalo said, he only acted on the orders of his immediate superior Emily Balatbat, who is the chief of the BOC Composite Unit at the Pair Cargo.

Commissioner Lina asked Balatbat to explain why the shameful incident happened.

Source: Manila Bulletin, Interaksyon

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