Tamaraw Club issues are very relevant today

This refers to the letter “In defense of a deceased envoy” by Fernand Tanguay (Inquirer, 11/16/12). As one of those who filed the complaint against the illegal operation of the Tamaraw Club in the Philippine Embassy in Moscow, I had first-hand knowledge of the facts of the case. I am taking exception to Tanguay’s allegations on the following points:

1. The Tamaraw Club operated without the authority of the foreign secretary. In fact, the Department of Foreign Affairs was not aware about the operation of the club until we exposed it.

2. The club, owned by Galaxy International Company, was actually a restaurant run for profit. The profits from its operation, estimated at $10,000 per month, were pocketed by Galaxy.
3. Other embassy clubs in Moscow, like the American Club, were owned by their members. Only members and their guests could use club facilities. The Tamaraw Club was open to the public. Save for two employees of the Philippine Embassy, none of our embassy staff was a member of the club.
4. The Tamaraw Club engaged in technical smuggling. Massive amounts of foodstuff and drinks were imported tax-free under diplomatic privilege and then resold by the club for profit. This was made easier because two of Galaxy’s employees were accredited by Ambassador Alejandro B. Melchor Jr. as “ministers,” again without DFA’s authority. (“Minister” is a senior diplomatic rank and requires presidential appointment.) The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations provides that all goods imported under diplomatic privilege should only be for consumption by the diplomatic staff. Tanguay should know this rule since he teaches international law.

5. The security of the embassy was compromised because of the operation of the Tamaraw Club. The personnel operating it lived in the embassy building and had access to all parts of the embassy 24/7. All of us serving in Moscow had Nica (National Intelligence Coordinating Agency) clearance. The club’s employees did not have any. Ditto the foreigners who came in and out of the embassy at all hours. Public access to the premises of the embassy should be limited.

The Tamaraw Club issues are very relevant today because of the breach in security. Our current confrontation with China over the West Philippine Sea requires us to ensure the security of our embassy in Beijing and avoid the mistakes made in the operation of our embassy in Moscow.

6. Our complaint is fully documented. As a result of the complaint, the DFA ordered the closure of the club, and then President Corazon Aquino terminated Melchor’s services as ambassador to the Soviet Union.

7. The dubious operations of our embassy in Moscow and the Tamaraw Club were the subject of a privilege speech by then Rep. Carmelo Locsin. The speech can be accessed in the Congressional Record, Dec. 5, 1988.

Tanguay should submit contrary documents to back up his allegations or at least indicate the sources of the information on which he based his letter.



Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=42271

Tags: letters to the editor , opinion , Tamaraw Club

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • 4 French journalists held hostage in Syria freed
  • CBCP vows to uphold sacredness of life
  • Car bomber kills at least 6 at Syrian government checkpoint
  • Nothing should impede normalization of Russia-West relations – Putin
  • Prosecutor says mate in SKorean ferry steering waters for 1st time
  • Sports

  • MLB pitcher donates $100,000 for Sewol ferry victims
  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Boston prepares for huge wave of marathon visitors
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • PH boosts MERS monitoring after UAE nurse scare
  • Canadians back PH plea to take back waste
  • We treasure our Sierra Madre
  • OFW from UAE tests negative for MERS-Cov–health chief
  • Marketplace