The Chinese couple involved in the fatal shooting of two Chinese diplomats and wounding the Chinese Consul General will not be prosecuted in the Philippines.
Gou Jing, first secretary consul of the Chinese Consular Office in Cebu and her husband Li Qing Liang have invoked their diplomatic immunity.
The couple holds diplomatic passports that give them legal immunity from lawsuits in their host country.
In a close-circuit television camera footage, Li was seen shooting Consulate finance officer Hui Li in the head. Deputy Consul General Sun Shuan was shot by Li in the neck while Consul General Song Ronghua was hit with a bullet in the hand. The shooting happened on Wednesday at 1:19 p.m. inside the Lighthouse Restaurant in Cebu City. Both parties were attending a birthday celebration held in the restaurant.
In a telephone interview with Sun Star, Police Chief Superintendent Prudencio Tom Bañas said that Li first shot the consul-general and his deputy. Hui, the finance officer, ran outside the room, but was followed and shot by Lee.
Gou and Li fled the crime scene in a gray Toyota Vios with a KEF-841 tag while police officers chase them.
Hui and Sun died later in the hospital while Song is still under observation.
In a press conference, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose said that Li Qing Liang and Guo Jang will be handed over to Chinese authority due to their diplomatic immunity.
“The two sides will properly handle the matter in accordance with the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations and the 2009 Consular Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China,” Jose said.
However, Harry Roque, professor of International Law at the University of the Philippines, disagreed. “The shooting incident in Cebu was a breach of Philippine penal laws and should be investigated and prosecuted as an ordinary crime,” said Roque in an interview with Sun Star.
“They only enjoy functional immunity or such immunity as may be required so that they can perform consular functions properly. These functions are mostly commercial in nature,” he added.
The suspects will be turned over to a team from Beijing where they will be investigated and face court.